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Dublin: -1°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Survey shows 4 in 5 carers badly impacted by cuts in recent years

This week is National Carers Week.

Jay Jay Kane from Dublin protesting against cuts to the Respite Care Grant outside Leinster House
Jay Jay Kane from Dublin protesting against cuts to the Respite Care Grant outside Leinster House
Image: Wanderley Massafelli via Photocall Ireland

THIS WEEK IS National Carers Week and over 150 events are organised around the country to celebrate the work they do.

There are 187,000 family carers in Ireland.

Cuts to the respite grant, changes to medical card provisions and other cutbacks are having a significant impact on carers.

A nationwide survey published by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland in association with Care Alliance Ireland shows that 82 per cent of carers reported being impacted by cuts to home care packages over the past three years.

The survey of over 170 family carers also found that 77 per cent were affected by cuts to respite services and 70 per cent by cuts to home help.

Over one fifth of carers who took part in the survey could not access any respite services.

Another finding was that 42 per cent of respondents had given up work to look after the person with a neurological condition while 64 per cent reported a significant fall in family income since the onset of the condition.

Carers Week

The week encourages carers to take a day for themselves and to participate in events such as pamper days, informative gatherings, live entertainment and ‘open days’ at local attractions.

Liam O Sullivan is Executive Director of Care Alliance, he said:

It is clear from this survey that successive cuts to supports for Family Carers are creating a climate of worry, uncertainty and distress.
“This is very disappointing in the light of the publication in 2012 of the National Carers Strategy which explicitly commits to valuing the role of Family Carers in Ireland.
We know from the findings of previous surveys that other family members remain the most important source of support for Family Carers, taking up the slack as State supports are further reduced.

O’Sullivan added that “This week we should focus on doing something for those that contribute so much to Irish society.

“Whether you just call in, make a meal, offer help and support or if they are far away, give them a call to say ‘you are doing something really important’, there is a huge value in simply saying ‘thank you’”.

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