Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has “regretted” the cuts in health funding announced by Minister Reilly but welcomed the HSE commitment to apply the reductions “on a case by case basis”. In short he has refused to veto the cuts and has instead issued a hypocritical statement.
The assets of the wealthiest 300 Irish Citizens have increased by €12 billion to €62 billion over the past two years. Rather than tax these assets Mr Gilmore is prepared to take a further €130 million out of a health service already devastated by cuts. A further reduction of €700 million in funding of health services next year has been promised by Minister Reilly. Instead of taxing the assets and incomes of the super-rich Dr Reilly wants to reduce the pay and conditions of health service workers whose pay has already been cut and who are working in the most difficult conditions due to staff cuts.
Of the eight cost-cutting proposals in the HSE plan outlined yesterday (30 August 2012), at least three will affect older people or the disabled exclusively. Services for both groups are likely to be seriously affected by a 600,000-hour cut in home help hours, as well as a reduction of 200 home care packages and a €10 million reduction in hours for personal assistants for people who need high levels of support trying to live independently. Services and supports for these patients have already been severely cut.
In addition cholesterol reducing drugs, among others, are to be removed from the medical card scheme. This removal will increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks thus shortening the lives of those who can’t afford to pay. This is in truth a descent into barbarism.
Net assets of the top 300 Irish Citizens have increased by €4.9 billion in the year 2011 and by €12 billion in the past two years to a new high level of €62 billion.
New research carried out by Nick Webb for Sunday Independent, March 11, 2012, has established the above figures and identified the 300 individuals concerned. Those who are gone “bust” or have much reduced wealth have been replaced by 44 new entrants. Wealth has not disappeared but some has moved between asset holders.
I have already sought an emergency meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee ( of which I am a member ) with a view to stopping these cuts.
I call on all Labour Deputies, including my fellow Deputy in the new Tipperary Constituency, to insist that these barbaric cuts be halted.
Séamus Healy TD – 087 2802199
01 September 2012