Minister for Health James Reilly has said cuts to personal assistant hours for people with disabilities "was never going to happen".

Speaking on RTE's Prime Time, he said he did not make a u-turn decision, but had made it clear to the HSE that cuts to personal assistants had to be a last resort.

He said that he deplored the fact that people had to stay up all night in the cold protesting, and he regretted that it became an issue.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Minister Reilly is "to be admired" for "having the courage" to reverse cuts to personal assistance for the disabled.

On home help and home care rates, Mr Kenny said it was only right that new applicants should be fully assessed to see if they qualified.

He said every minister is working on how targets for the Budget will be met.

Separately, Minister of State Michael Ring has said Mr Reilly needs to review the decision to reduce the number of hours provided to vulnerable families by home helps.

Speaking at the opening of the new Tullamore Dew Visitor Centre this afternoon, Mr Ring said it was important to keep people in their homes and he knew Mr Reilly would do the right thing by reviewing the decision to reduce home help hours.