Donegal Deputy Charlie McConalogue has accused the Government of yet another brutal attack on supports for older people following confirmation that almost 2 million home help hours have been slashed over the past three years.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy said many older people are finding it increasingly difficult to remain living at home following a dramatic reduction in home help supports since this Government came into office.
“When elected, Fine Gael and Labour made a firm commitment to increasing home help hours every year while they are office. Instead, what we have seen is a dramatic reduction in these supports since they got into power. The result is that many older people or people with disabilities are finding it increasingly difficult to stay living in their own homes,” explained Deputy McConalogue.
In 2011 the HSE promised just under 12 million home help hours but only 11.2 million were delivered. The first Fine Gael/Labour budget in December 2011 removed another 500,000 home help hours. In 2012, the HSE projected 10.7 million home help hours but only delivered 9.9 million hours in reality. Again it failed to meet targets in 2013, with 10.3 million home help hours promised and only 9.7 million hours delivered.
Deputy McConalogue told Donegal Daily: “These year on year reductions clearly illustrate the extent of the Government’s broken promises in relation to home supports for older people. It’s just the latest example of Fine Gael’s sustained attack on older people and people with disabilities.
“The cull of medical cards, the cuts to home adaption grants, cuts to the housing aid for older people scheme, cuts to the telephone allowance,the abolition of the bereavement grant, the hike in prescription charges, the hike in the carbon tax and the changes to the Fair Deal scheme have had a serious impact on older people in Donegal and across the country.
“This attack on the elderly must stop. Every day I hear from older people from across Donegal who are finding it increasingly difficult to stay living at home due to the series of cuts to their supports.
“Not only is it deeply unfair for the Government to continue to target older people and people with disabilities in this way, it’s also extremely short-sighted. By failing to provide the supports needed to allow people to live comfortably and with dignity in their own homes, the Government is pushing these people onto the already overburdened hospital system and costing the tax-payer more in the long-run.”