Cutbacks 'hitting sick and elderly'
Public spending cutbacks are particularly hitting the sick and elderly, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has warned.
The Republic's most senior Catholic church leader said the government was allocating less to some of society's most vulnerable at a time when it was most needed.
"Our population is ageing," he said. "Just at a time in which increased investment in the care of the elderly is necessary, the reality is that we are facing cutbacks.
"The cutbacks in public social services which are the outcome of the current economic situation are already hitting, in particular, those who are sick or aged but who up to now had received the help which enabled them to live on in their own homes, which is what they dearly want."
Archbishop Martin appealed to communities to be more alert to the sick and elderly among them.
The church leader said people had to ensure they are not left forgotten "in the difficult times ahead".
He added: "Community care needs active and attentive communities."
Archbishop Martin was addressing his congregation in his Sunday homily.