SIPTU members and service users have condemned a cut in funding to the Personal Assistants service which provides vital support for people with disabilities. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Darragh O’Connor, said: “The decision by the HSE to reduce funding to disability services in its 2016 service plan has been met with dismay by workers and service users. “This cut will result in the loss of 100,000 hours of services provided by Personal Assistants that enable people with physical disabilities to participate in their communities and workplaces.” SIPTU activist and Personal Assistant (PA), Declan McCarthy, said: “The PA service can help transform people’s lives. There is a lot of talk about economic recovery but I don’t see it when disability services are being cut like this." PA service user and disability activist, Dr. John Roche, said: “People with disabilities depend on PA services to live independent lives in their communities. Without these supports, people can be confined to their beds, homes or institutions. Without a PA service you don’t have a life, you have an existence.” Darragh O’Connor added: “People with disabilities want to work, socialise, live a normal life and Personal Assistants can make this happen. Cutting PA services when there is a growing demand is indefensible. SIPTU is calling on the Minister of Health, Leo Varadkar, to do the right thing and reverse this cut and invest adequately in PA services.”