Protest against home help cuts
More than 1,500 people have taken to the streets in Cork to protest against home help cutbacks.
Participants in the Siptu-organised rally called on Health Minister Dr James Reilly and the Health Service Executive to end what they claimed was a short sighted policy of slashing home help services.
Siptu organiser Ted Kenny said: "500,000 home help hours have already been removed in 2012 and now the HSE is seeking to slash a further 600,000 hours before the end of this year.
"It would seem that the most vulnerable in our society are being made suffer for the benefit of private for profit health companies who stand to benefit once the HSE has overseen the destruction of the currently highly efficient home help service."
Home helps and their supporters wore red to symbolise the danger in which they said elderly and vulnerable clients would be placed if one million hours were cut from the home help service by the end of this year.
The union, SIPTU which represents almost 10,000 home helps across Ireland said the rally was the first in a series of events planned as part of its 'Time to Care' campaign ahead of next month's budget.
They marched from Connolly Hall to Grand Parade.
Meanwhile, in Dublin about 100 people marched from Parnell Square to Leinster House protest against a possible reduction in child benefit.
The group Parents Against Child Benefit Cuts said the proposed cut from 140 euro to 100 euro would be too much.
The Government said no decision had been made in relation to the Children's Allowance.