6 January 2016
By Elaine Murphy
Sinn Féin General Election Candidate Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said that Sinn Féin in Government would ensure adequate care for the elderly in their homes, as well as much improved working conditions for carers.
Cllr Ó Laoghaire was speaking on Sinn Féin’s detailed Health policy, which commits to an additional spend of €3.3b in Health over the lifetime of the Government, and taking on an additional 2,500 nurses, and 800 Consultants.
“Most older people, would much prefer to live the rest of their lives at home where possible, and generally their families have the same wish.”
“However current Government policy is directed in the opposite way. In 2015, €315 million was allocated for home help and home care, compared to €933 million for nursing home support.
“We think it is absolutely essential that Government policy is redirected. There is a significant lack of investment in the whole area of Home Helps. In the early part of last year, in the South Lee area, which covers Cork South Central, over half of those who had been approved for Home Help, hadn’t received it. 411 applications were approved from January to June and 249 had not been allocated.”
“This is not acceptable, and Sinn Féin would increase home help hours and homecare packages in year one by 10 per cent and by a further 10 per cent on the baseline year in years two and three.”
“We are also committed to ensuring those working in the sector are properly treated, and we will tackle the race to the bottom, which has resulted in a serious deterioration in the pay, terms and conditions of those workers and carers who provide care for older people.”
“It is also essential that the unpaid family and friends, who look after their loved ones in their homes, are supported and looked after. It has to be recognised that without adequate respite, family carers are themselves left more vulnerable to ill-health.”
“Sinn Féin would increase respite care service provision for older people by 20%, at an estimated cost of €6.24 million. We are determined to ensure that older people can spend the rest of their lives at home as much as it is possible, because this is the desire of many older people, and they deserve that dignity.”