Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has said the reversal of proposed cuts to personal assistants for disabled people was not "ordered" by the Cabinet.

Mr Quinn said the decision was taken by Minister for Health James Reilly and was announced at the end of yesterday's Cabinet meeting.

Mr Quinn said Mr Reilly gave Cabinet members a "long exposition" of the over-run in the health budget, before saying he would address the issue of personal assistants.

The Health Service Executive has written to the Disability Federation of Ireland to confirm the planned cuts will not proceed.

The guarantee was sent to the organisation in an email.

The measures were one element of a €130m package of cuts announced by the HSE last Thursday.

Other elements of the cutback plan are to go ahead.

Mr Reilly said he would keep reviewing the measures to ensure they were being applied as fairly and sympathetically as possible.

Minister of State at the Department of Health Róisín Shortall said it was "unfortunate" the cuts to personal assistants were announced in the first place.

She said she only learned of the health cuts an hour before they were announced.

Speaking at the launch of the 2011 Rape Crisis Centre's annual report, Ms Shortall admitted there was poor communication within Government on cuts, but it was now a secondary matter.

She also said that she was unhappy to see disabled people protesting outside Government Buildings last night.

Earlier, the Carers Association welcomed the decision to reverse the cuts.

However, the association said that cuts to home care and home help packages should also be reversed.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Catherine Cox from the Carers Association said the cuts should never have been put on the table in the first place.

She said the most vulnerable should not be the easy target every time and that the Government should address the "bigger fish" to make its savings.

Ms Cox said it does not make economic sense to cut care in the home and she appealed to the Government to leave carers untouched in the Budget.

While the €10m cut in personal assistant hours for people with disabilities will not go ahead, alternative savings are to be found in administration, training, travel and cash management.

Protest by group with disabilities ends

The group of people with disabilities which had been protesting outside Government Buildings since midday yesterday decided earlier to call off its protest.

The group said that it would resume the protest if the HSE Director General Tony O'Brien did not agree to meet them within the next 14 days.

They said they cannot trust the Government's word when it comes to providing care for those with disabilities.

Meanwhile the campaign group Older and Bolder has called on Mr Reilly to come out in public and deal with questions that concerned citizens have, after six days of uncertainty about frontline services for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

It wants the minister to explain what will happen in the absence of home help hours and home care packages, to individuals who are medically fit for discharge from acute hospitals but who need social care support to return home safely.

Fianna Fáil accused Mr Reilly of not working hard enough to find savings in the overall health budget when he targeted disability services for cuts.

The party's health spokesman, Billy Kelleher, said the minister cut home help hours rather than take on the "vested interests" of hospital consultants and drugs companies.

Sinn Féin's Caoimghín Ó Caoláin said the reversal of the personal assistant cuts was welcome, but should never have been contemplated in the first place.

He said the climbdown highlighted the chaotic management of the health services.