Ill father 'forced to keep daughter home' after cuts
AN invalid in constant pain says he will have to keep his 14-year-old daughter out of school after his home care was slashed by the HSE.
Paul Martyn Smith (60), lives with his daughter, Lilly, in Killala, Co Mayo and had been getting by with one and a half hours of home help provided by the HSE five days a week.
Mr Smith has been receiving a disability allowance for the last 14 years because of a herniated disc problem which severely restricts his mobility.
His wife, Karen, died from bowel cancer four years ago, leaving Mr Smith solely responsible for caring for Lilly.
But he was recently informed that he was going to lose his care package because of cutbacks.
He immediately appealed and has now been told he will receive half an hour's home help five days a week.
"Half an hour is just not adequate. I need help some mornings even getting out of bed, and also with simple things like shopping and cleaning," he said yesterday.
"I just can't cope with having her at school and looking after her as I should," he added.
In a statement yesterday the HSE West said that it was necessary to review all services being delivered in Mayo.
It added: "Unfortunately, we are under extreme pressure with regard to expenditure."
SIPTU yesterday slammed the HSE response and accused it of drawing up its "so-called appeals procedure" on the back of a cigarette packet.
SIPTU organiser in the west, Colm Keaveney said: "Local services are being pulverised for the most vulnerable in Mayo. Management have absented themselves from critically important meetings that would have identified the resources that could have been used to protect front-line services."