Local Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has heavily criticised Fine Gael and Labour for what he describes as their “clear neglect of the elderly and vulnerable in Westmeath”, after it was revealed that well over half of all home help hours were cut in Westmeath in 2013.
The number of home help hours provided in County Westmeath fell from 287,000 in 2012 to 117,663 in 2013, a drop of almost 60 per cent.
Deputy Troy was commenting following a reply he received to a parliamentary question that he tabled to the Minister for Health, James Reilly.
He says the cut is “a total betrayal of the Government’s solemn commitment to provide more home help hours every year while in office”.
“The Programme for Government committed to additional funding each year for the care of older people, with funding to go towards the delivery of more home help. But instead of seeing a boost in home help hours we have seen a dramatic reduction in the support provided for the care of older people.
“The commitment on home helps has been broken every single year, with almost two million hours lost from the end of 2010 to the end of last year. There were 11.68 million home help hours provided in 2010. In 2013, less than 9.74 million home help hours were delivered nationwide,” said Deputy Troy.
“This is a critical support to older people that allows them to stay out of the acute hospital system and live with dignity in their own homes.
“This Government has an appalling record with regard to its treatment of our older citizens and the shocking reduction in home help hours is yet another example of this,” he concluded.