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Video: Charities urge Government not to slash public services in Budget 2013

SOME of the country’s leading charities have urged the Government to protect public and social services by avoiding further damaging cuts in the Budget.

Since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, budgets for key services have been cut by up to a fifth with those depending on public and social services suffering real hardship, according to seven of the country’s main charity networks and federations.

They 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 ends.

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 - said the Government must ensure that children, older people and those with disabilities receive the help they need “to live with dignity”.

“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.