Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Government commitment on care cuts

A group of people with disabilities who mounted a protest outside Government buildings

The Government has given written commitments to disabled people receiving personal assistant care that services will not be cut.

Health Minister James Reilly instructed the Health Service Executive (HSE) to send a letter to a group of demonstrators in their third day picketing Government Buildings.

About 10 protesters in wheelchairs slept rough overnight as they continued their vigil.

Martin Naughton, spokesman for the group, confirmed the letter had been received and that a delegation from the group was considering it.

"It's quite a short letter," said Mr Naughton.

"It confirms that our personal assistant services are safe. But we are now concerned about the fact that to keep our services safe, they are going to take the money from other disabled people."

A spokesman for the HSE confirmed a letter had been sent to Disability Federation of Ireland.

Mr Naughton said details of the letter had not been shared with all the protesters but that the delegation would hold a conference later to decide whether to continue their protest.

Fine Gael's Dr Reilly rowed back on controversial plans to cut personal assistant hours following pressure from the protesters and other TDs, including members of coalition partner Labour.

He had proposed cutting 10 million euro from the service but confirmed it would not be touched, with savings being made elsewhere - through administrative cuts, training and travel.

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