Figures obtained by Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams reveal that there has been a significant cut in home help hours in Louth over the last five years.
According to the HSE there were 241,656 home help hours in Louth in 2008, excluding Home Care Packages. In the period up to September of this year this figure has plummeted to 129,648.
The figures for Home Care packages also reveal a significant drop from 191,695 in 2008 to 144,898 up to September of this year.
The overall figure reveals that the total number of home help hours in 2008 was 433,351 while for this year – up to September – the figure is 274,546. If you extrapolate the figure for this year this will mean that by the end of December Louth will have lost almost 70,000 home help hours.
In addition the HSE has admitted that it is currently undertaking a review of home help provision to take account of the cutback of an extra one million home hours that were announced in August.
Teachta Adams said:
“In October the HSE revealed that there are 1184 citizens in Louth dependent upon home helps. Many of these are older citizens who rely on the home help service.
The policy of the Fine Gael and Labour government to severely cut home help hours, supported by government TDs Fergus O Dowd, Ged Nash and Peter Fitzpatrick, will have a substantial and adverse impact on vulnerable older citizens, disabled citizens, their families and the home help carers who support them.
It is hypocritical of TDs to praise the work of home helps and claim to understand the needs of those who use the home help service and then support cuts to that service and expose vulnerable citizens to harm.