The State is not ‘fulfilling its moral duty to the most vulnerable citizens’, presenter of The Hard Shoulder Kieran Cuddihy has said.
Amid ongoing controversy about the Government’s role in awarding compensation to those who were overcharged for nursing homes, Kieran said that it was always the least well-off who are most affected when public policies go wrong.
“We know that the Government wrongfully took money from nursing home residents over a period of several years,” he said.
“When the Government learned of this, their reaction was secrecy, subterfuge and a strategy to fight tooth and nail to avoid paying those people back - money that was wrongfully taken from them.
“On top of that, we learnt last night from RTÉ that the State denied up to 12,000 vulnerable people their Disability Allowance payments.
“The response from the Government when it learned about it at the time? More secrecy and more subterfuge.
“So, when faced with a choice of fulfilling their moral duty to the State’s most vulnerable citizens or hiding from it, they chose the latter.”
Kieran added that the issue is not confined to the current administration.
“Successive Governments have been at the exact same thing,” he said.
“All of them denying or disguising their moral cowardice with the cloak of legal advice - that’s what we keep hearing about, the ‘legal advice’.
“I don’t expect the Government to solve all of my problems… I do think, at the very least, that Governments should be fulfilling their moral duty to the most vulnerable citizens in this State.
“In that, they are failing; they are failing when it comes to nursing homes, they are failing on Disability Allowance, failing when it comes to mental health - in particular child and adolescent mental health.
“Failure, after failure, after failure, after failure… There seems to be an institutional aversion in this country to helping out certain citizens and I don’t know why that is.”