Date Released: 05 June 2013
SIPTU Home Support workers will hold a protest against government cutbacks to services in Dundalk town centre on Friday, 7th June at 3.00 p.m.
Protesters will gather in Dundalk Town Square before marching to the local HSE Offices on Market Street to hand in a petition of over 15,000 signatures calling on the Government to reverse cuts to services.
The protest is part of the SIPTU Time To Care campaign which is calling for a restoration of hours cut from Home Support Services and proper contracts of employment for those working in the sector.
Home Support Services to the elderly and disabled were reduced by 500,000 hours at the beginning of 2012. Last September, the Health Service Executive (HSE) removed a further 200,000 hours from service provision.
Home Support workers deliver direct personal care to clients, which ensure that those that avail of the service are safe and secure in their own homes. The services provided include the preparation of meals, providing assistance with showering, toileting and dressing along with vital domestic duties.
SIPTU Lead Organiser Miriam Hamilton said: “In response to our campaign the Minister for Health, James Reilly, promised in the last budget to restore Home Support hours to level their level at the start of 2012. However, our members have not seen any restoration of hours while services have continued to be contracted out to private for profit companies. The Minister must cease the practice of cutting Home Support hours due to financial considerations only and recognise that the needs of the elderly and disabled people who require this service must come first.
"The protest will also highlight Home Support workers support for the proper regulation of services. However, it will be made clear that the main threat to standards is the underfunding of services and the greater time constraints this places upon providers.
“We are calling on all Home Support workers and Home Care attendants in county Louth to support our protest. We are also asking for support from the general public. Let’s join together to send a message that we will not be silent while our families, clients and communities continue to suffer from HSE cutbacks.”