Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Reilly rows back on disabled cuts

People protest at cuts to Personal Assistant home help hours by Health Minister James Reilly

Under-fire Health Minister James Reilly has rowed back on controversial plans to cut personal assistant services to the disabled.

He has instructed the Health Service Executive (HSE) to make adjustments elsewhere to work towards shaving the total disability budget.

"The minister has told the HSE to distribute adjustments across the sector with a focus on cutting administration, training and travel costs, and better cash management by agencies involved," said a spokesman for the Department of Health.

"The minister has requested that the HSE work with agencies to minimise the impact on services within the disability sector."

Those in receipt of personal assistant care will continue to receive the service to suit their needs.

A group of people with disabilities picketed the Dail in protest at Dr Reilly's proposals to slash health services by 130 million euro this year.

The demonstrators, who included members of the Disability Federation of Ireland, threatened to return tomorrow if the minister did not reconsider his initial plans.

Dr Reilly told fellow ministers during a lengthy Cabinet meeting this afternoon that, with regard to home care packages and home help hours, individual cases would be assessed.

"The minister will receive regular reports from the HSE on the measures and will keep regularly reviewing the application of these measures to ensure that they are being applied as fairly and sympathetically as possible," the spokesman added.

Earlier, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore launched a blistering attack on Fianna Fail after the party warned it would table a motion of no confidence in Dr Reilly.

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