A GROUP representing several charities has warned the Government against imposing any more damaging cuts to public and social services in the Budget.
Since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, budgets for key services have been cut by up to a fifth, seven leading charity networks and federations said. This had left those depending on public and social services suffering real hardship and the cuts had pushed such services to "beyond sustainability", it said.
"The consequences of austerity means the recession will last longer and ordinary people will be disadvantaged for an unbearably longer period of time," warned Seamus Boland, chief executive of Irish Rural Link. The group – the Disability Federation of Ireland, Carers Association, Irish Rural Link, The Wheel, Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups, National Youth Council and Older and Bolder – warned in a joint statement that, without a plan to sustain public services, we risked doing severe damage to Ireland's social fabric by the time the recession ended.
The Government must ensure children, older people and those with disabilities receive the help they need "to live with dignity", the group said.
Older and Bolder director Patricia Conboy said recent cuts to home care services were illogical and made no sense on an economic or human level. "They are a textbook example of the costs to citizens when governments fail to plan," she said.