Friday 23 February 2018

Gene Kerrigan: Latest ingenious way to save money

We're marching to the beat of austerity with even deeper cuts than planned to come, writes Gene Kerrigan

One of the first stories I covered, over 30 years ago, was about an angry disabled man from Ballymun. Not only was the disability allowance a pittance, but each year he had to be inspected to ensure the disability hadn't gone away. This applied even to people who -- like this man -- had limbs amputated. To guard against fraud, to enforce austerity measures, the State solemnly confirmed that the legs of the permanently disabled hadn't grown back.

In the late Eighties, the family of a brain-damaged boy -- permanently incontinent -- were stunned to be told that the State was henceforth cutting the number of nappies provided. You see, there's a recession, they were told. The state had to make tough decisions.

Last week, RTE's Joe Little covered the story of Harriet, a woman who looks after her mother who suffers from dementia and is incontinent. The Government of Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore wants a "bladder report chart". Harriet must measure the amount of liquid that goes into her mother, and the amount of urine that comes out -- and report these measurements to the HSE. So that the State doesn't waste money by supplying too many incontinence pads to Harriet's mother.

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