Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, has said the restriction on new applications for home help services is appalling.
Deputy Cowen was commenting as the scheme was closed to new applicants until at least next November despite there being more than 6,000 people on waiting lists.
“This regressive decision will have many knock-on negative consequences for families, carers, and the wider health services across Offaly," explained Deputy Cowen.
"On the one hand we have a Government saying that they will facilitate people growing old in their own home, and on the other they are taking away their means to do so. For the 369 people in Laois and Offaly waiting for home help, one of the highest waiting lists in the country, this news is particularly worrying.
“It’s important to remember that we are an ageing nation. Over the next 30 years, the number of people in Ireland over the age of 65 will double and the number over the age of 85 will quadruple. Despite the increase in life expectancy, chronic illness is on the rise and so people are going to need to be cared for in their own home to take the pressure off the acute hospital network.
“The recent freeze on hours has to be reconsidered and the Government must show respect to the clients and families who depend on home supports. It’s high time the Government looked after our most vulnerable”, he concluded.