Home Help/Home Care Action Group calls on James Reilly to clarify the private home care business interests of top health policy advisor, Maureen Windle

The campaign group demands that the Minister for Health reveal to the public the business relationship between Maureen Windle, top policy advisor in the Department for Health, and a major private home care company.  John Lyons, spokesperson for the campaign said: “Yesterday’s revelation in the Sunday Business Post that such a senior advisor in the Department for Health was once a director of Sodexo Zehnacker Healthcare Ireland is of grave concern. Sodexo is a huge global corporation which owns Comfort Keepers, a major company that has operated in the field of private home care service provision in Ireland since 2005. It has come to the attention of the campaign that over the past year, the HSE appear to be favouring Comfort Keepers over voluntary organisations in the awarding of contracts for the provision of home care packages”.

“At a time when the Department for Health and the HSE is cutting 600,000 home help hours in addition to the cut implemented already this year of some 500,000 hours of home help that many of our sick, disabled and elderly citizens so critically depend upon it is disturbing to discover that such a senior figure in the Department may have had an influence in deciding to attack the public home care sector, a decision that could certainly benefit  Comfort Keepers,” Mr. Lyons continued. “We need a full and honest account from Minister Reilly as to the exact business relationship that Ms. Windle has had with Sodexo in the past, and full disclosure of any continuing relationship she may have with this major multinational.”

The Home Help/Home Care Action Group will march to Dail Eireann on Wednesday 17th October to demand that the Government and HSE immediately cease attacking the elderly, sick and disabled and restore all home help hours and home care packages cut this year. “At a time when so many sectors of Irish society are being targeted for vicious austerity cuts for the sins of the well paid politicians, hubristic property developers and greedy speculating bankers that brought the country to the verge of economic ruin,” Mr. Lyons concluded, “the savage cuts to the home help and home care services stand out as they indicate how far Fine Gael and the Labour Party will go in order to ensure that the majority of ordinary people pay for the greed of a tiny rich minority. The latest revelation only adds to the peoples’ view that Fine Gael and the Labour Party will do everything within their power to help the rich and punish the poor and vulnerable.”

Home Help & Home Care workers, their friends, families and supporters will assemble at the GPO, O’Connell St Dublin 1 at 3pm on Wednesday 17th October 2012 to march on Dail Eireann.

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