HOME helps and carers from throughout County Wicklow attended a public meeting in Bray's Wilton Hotel last week in advance of a national demonstration in Dublin the following day.
Protesters were preparing to go to the capital last Wednesday to demand that the government and the HSE 'cease attacking the elderly, sick and disabled and restore all home help hours and home care packages this year.'
' The 500,000 hours already cut by this government has already caused suffering and fear to the most vulnerable in our society,' said campaigner Mary Stephenson. ' To cut further hours will devastate this vital service and subsequently leave many vulnerable people with out any help or support.'
Her fellow campaigner Paula Campbell added that the home helps provide an essential service. ' They keep the elderly and disabled living in their own homes and communities. The majority are women who work part-time with no or insecure contracts, many fear they will have no jobs in 12 months time.
' The home helps are now trying to care for the same people with only half the time it just does not work.'
The locals joined protesters from all over Ireland last Wednesday when a letter and petition were handed to the chairman of the Oireachtas health committee, Jerry Buttimer, asking the Government to reverse HSE cuts to home help hours.