A PARALYMPIAN has challenged Health Minister James Reilly to spend a day in a wheelchair before any more cuts are made to home care services.
Student Padraic Moran said targeting Ireland's most vulnerable would send the country back to the Dark Ages.
The 28-year-old, from Bray, Co Wicklow, who represented Ireland in Boccia in London 2012, has 10 hours of personal care a week to help him in the mornings and with his dinner.
"I want the health minister to put himself in a wheelchair for a day and see if he can function and do the most simple tasks, like getting dressed or travelling on public transport," said Mr Moran, who has cerebral palsy.
"By cutting these services, they are hitting the most vulnerable in society. It has to stop."
The DCU student, who is studying communications and works weekends at East Coast FM, said he would not be able to live on campus in Ballymun without the care funded by the state through Bluebird Care.
"I am pretty self-sufficient," he said. "But I can't put on my shoes and socks in the morning and in the evening I need help to take my dinner out of the oven," he added.
"But if they keep cutting services, people will lose their independence and we will go back to the Dark Ages."
Mr Moran came out in support of Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI) as it called on the Government to address inefficiencies, which it claimed could save ¤280m a year.
The group represents 25 private home care providers in Ireland which employ almost 8,000 people to provide 80,000 hours of care -- some paid for privately and some paid by the State -- to more than 6,000 older or disabled people nationwide.