Minister for Health James Reilly has said he was not forced into a U-turn over cuts to personal assistant hours for people with disabilities.

Speaking on RTÉ's Prime Time last night, Mr Reilly said the reported cuts were "never going to happen".

He said he made it clear to the Health Service Executive that cuts to personal assistants had to be a last resort.

Mr Reilly said it would be "morally bankrupt" to withdraw assistance from people who had a contribution to make to society.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Reilly was "to be admired" for "having the courage" to reverse cuts to personal assistance for the disabled.