Sinn Féin councillor and general election candidate Cllr Rose Conway Walsh said this week that Fianna Fáil's protesting at cuts in home help hours "run hollow" as they themselves slashed home help hours during their last term in government. Cllr Conway Walsh said this week: "Fianna Fail's protestations over the 9,000 hours cut from home help hours in Mayo since 2012 by Fine Gael run hollow when they themselves cut 32,000 hours of home help in the county in just one year period from August 21 2009 to August 31 2010.
Cllr Conway Walsh added: “If it wasn’t so serious it would be amusing to see the very party that cut 32,000 hours of home help in one year from the most vulnerable people in this county now criticizing Fine Gael for finishing off what they started by cutting an additional 9,000 hours.
"In 2010 I submitted a PQ through our health spokesperson Deputy Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD requesting the number of home help hours cut in the county. In October of that year I got my answer – 32,000 hours. The reason I asked the question was that under the instructions of Fianna Fail, HSE inspectors went through this county and cut these hours from the elderly, sick and disabled. This was their answer to filling the financial black holes left by their disastrous economic policies that bankrupted this country. The reduced home help expenditure in 2010 in Mayo was €507,000 as confirmed by the HSE. This was in spite of me heading a community action group that organised public meetings and petitions throughout the county to get Fianna Fail to see the folly of their ways.”
She went on to say: “The further cutting of 9,000 hours by Fine Gael when their TDs in Mayo promised again in 2010 that they would reverse these cuts is just another broken promise to them. But to the thousands of elderly and disabled who are told they are not even worth one full hour of home help it means hospitalization, distress and anguish to them and their families. Fine Gael TDs who have since been promoted even pledged to seek meetings with HSE managers at the time to explain the impact of these severe cuts. Now we know it was all pretence just to get elected.”
Cllr Conway Walsh continued: “Having home help workers running around spending a half hour in one house and 30 minutes in another house does not provide a holistic and effective approach to community care. In the meantime, family carers are at their wits end, elderly and disabled people living alone are fearful, and hospitals and nursing homes don’t have enough beds to accommodate people who could be living at home if they were given full community supports. The half a million euros saved in 2010 has been wasted many times over. It is past time resources were put back into our community services and our district hospitals to deliver proper healthcare to local communities. Socially and economically it is the only way forward.”