Backbenchers row with Reilly over home-help cuts
LABOUR backbenchers are at loggerheads with Health Minister James Reilly over cutbacks to home-help hours.
There are increasing complaints about the withdrawal of home-help hours from elderly and disabled people.
Around 20 Labour TDs and senators brought up the reduction of around 600,000 home-help hours from now until the end of Christmas at their parliamentary party meeting. The cutbacks have been given the go-ahead by Dr Reilly to help the HSE tackle its budget.
There were complaints from Labour backbenchers that the €8m savings involved would be far outweighed by the increased cost of hospital and nursing home admittances.
One Labour source said that backbenchers had not been impressed with Taoiseach Enda Kenny's Dail pledge to get details of individual people affected by the cuts from Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.
The source said this was just micro-managing.
There is also strong lobbying within the Labour party for extra taxes on high earners, with many favouring a rise in the Universal Social Charge for those on €100,000-plus.
But Labour party chairman Colm Keaveney put forward his view on the need for a super levy on public and private pensions.
"I believe that the right way to address this is by imposing a super-levy on high pensions, starting at 10pc on all pensions over €100,000, graduating up to 25pc on pensions over €500,000," he said.