Rice criticises McWilliams campaign literature

“Residents of South Belfast will no doubt be puzzled to see from a leaflet recently delivered throughout the constituency that Monica McWilliams is campaigning for free personal care for the elderly.”

“They may be interested to discover that Ms McWilliams actually voted against the introduction of free personal care for older people on June 24 last year.”

“When Alliance first put a resolution to the Assembly in February 2001 calling for free personal care to be introduced, it was passed by every party. Yet when the Health and Personal Social Services Bill was debated last June, Alliance was the only party to vote for free personal care. All the others, including the Women’s Coalition, voted against it.”

“The other parties said that it was not the ‘right time’ to introduce free personal care, which includes things like help with taking medication, assistance with getting dressed and dealing with mobility problems. While Alliance’s amendments to the Health and Personal Social Services Bill would have committed the Assembly to providing free personal care for the elderly, it did not include a deadline date for introduction, so that excuse does not stand up to any real scrutiny.”

“The lack of free personal care is particularly of concern to those suffering from dementia, as they are being discriminated against under current arrangements. When would there be a ‘right time’ for sick people who need help now?”

“Alliance is the only party that has been consistent in its stance on free personal care for older people, and when the Assembly is reinstated, we will continue to fight for their rights as we have always done.”


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