Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has accused the government of being being dishonest about home help after his colleague and Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Louise O’ Reilly, received a parliamentary question reply from the HSE which shows the number of home help hours promised in Budget 2020 is less than half of what is needed.
“The government have had a freeze on home help hours due to their recruitment embargo for most of the year and it has meant that the waiting list for home help has exploded to 7,225 across the State with hundreds waiting in Donegal," said Senator Mac Lochlainn.
He claimed Fine Gael then tried to "pull a fast one" in Budget 2020 by making out the provision of one-million hours of home help would clear the whole waiting list.
"Sinn Féin called them out on this trickery at the time and we now have proof from the HSE that one-million hours will barely cover half the people on the waiting list and thousands will be left without home help.
"The numbers provided to us by the HSE show that some 2.5 million home help hours would be needed to clear the waiting list in 2020 and give everyone 6.5 hours of care per week, at a cost of €59 million for the year.
"Instead of delivering for those who need home care, we had a cynical attempt by the government to try and trick the public,” he said.
He continued: “This situation is ridiculous- supporting people to be cared for in their own home rather than in care homes or nursing units actually saves the State money. And on top of this, government are further wasting huge sums of money on private home help providers instead of investing in a working public home help system.
“It would have only taken €59m to ensure everyone on the home help waiting list got the home help they need, but Fine Gael again chose otherwise - their actions for the last eight years show that,” he said.