Thousands of people with disabilities are protesting outside the Dáil to demand that promises made to the sector in the Programme for Government are kept.

Over 1,000 of those taking part have travelled from Cork, Galway and Wexford.

The organisers, Disability Rights Alliance, said people with disabilities have been bearing an unfair brunt of economic cutbacks and they want the Government to maintain their social welfare payments in next month's Budget.

They also want the Government to introduce independent inspections of disability services and modern decision-making law to replace the 1871 Lunacy Act.

Protesters also want people with disabilities to be given greater control over the services they receive.

Meanwhile, SIPTU home help workers from across the Midlands have staged a public protest in Co Offaly over cuts to home help services.

A petition with 10,000 signatures was to be handed in to the HSE Central Offices in Tullamore.

It is the latest in a series of protests organised by SIPTU to highlight concern over cutbacks to home help funding before the Budget.