Use water refund for home help, says Daly
The €170m refund of water charges would be better used wiping out the waiting lists for home help and homecare packages, according to Older People Minister Jim Daly.
A spokesman for Mr Daly confirmed that he personally believed the refund windfall, which will be returned to householders who paid their water charges, should be used to clear the waiting list of thousands of people who need home support over the coming years.
Family Carers Ireland revealed earlier this week that the lack of support, including the dramatic reduction in respite services, was leaving many people severely struggling.
Mr Daly, who launched a research report on nursing home care yesterday, said a significant amount of work remains to be undertaken before final decisions are made on proposals to introduce a statutory home care scheme, including deciding the services it would offer.
Government policy is "to support older people to live in dignity and independence in their own homes for as long as possible", he said.
He was launching 'The Lived Experience of Nursing Home Residents in the context of the Nursing Home as their Home' report carried out by the University of Ulster for Nursing Homes Ireland.
Mr Daly is under pressure to relax the regulations around the Fair Deal nursing home support scheme for farming families who are facing inheritance difficulties.
A spokesman for Mr Daly said he has consulted with the Attorney General on legal obstacles and will be meeting the farming organisations with an update on the issue later this month.