Alliance Party Spokesperson for Health, Kieran McCarthy MLA, has described the comments by Ulster Unionist Assembly Member, Billy Bell, as hypocritical and lacking credibility. Mr Bell has complained about the Government not paying the full cost of services provided to older people in care homes.
Kieran McCarthy, Alliance Assembly Member for Strangford, said:
“While I would agree with those criticising the Government’s ‘penny-pinching’ by not paying fully for elderly care, to hear it from Mr Bell is a bit rich. He and his party voted against free personal care in the Northern Ireland Assembly. When he had the opportunity to put his fine principles into meaningful action, he shied away.
“Mr Bell had his chance to make a real, positive difference for older people and their relatives, and he blew it.
“But Mr Bell and his Ulster Unionist Party are not unique. All of the parties in the Northern Ireland Executive — UUP, SDLP, DUP and Sinn Fein — voted against free personal care. Only the Alliance MLAs voted in favour. Those opposed all then went out in the following election campaign saying they supported free personal care.
“I can only hope that when the Assembly gets up and running again, then we will make free personal care a collective top priority and a reality, versus a nice-sounding election campaign pledge. But as the Unionists and others have dropped the ball on this before, I and my party will remain true to our commitment to older people.”