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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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Readers' Panel: Full-time carer

Ann Hughes had been concerned that Carer’s Allowance would be cut. The government left it alone – but there were other changes which will still affect her.

Carers protesting about possible cuts outside the Dáil
Carers protesting about possible cuts outside the Dáil
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Ann Hughes is a full-time carer for her adult daughter Debbie.  Ann’s big fear before the Budget was that the government would cut Carer’s Allowance, upon which she relies.

I don’t think it’s a fair Budget. It’s similar to what has always taken place – people on huge salaries will not be affected but the people on minute benefits will. Vincent de Paul will be absolutely mobbed this year.

I was very pleased that Carer’s wasn’t cut – but I’m not happy about the cut to fuel allowance. Debbie gets that and it means she’ll be down €20 each week of the cut for fuel. It will be missed. On Joe Duffy today people were asking for reassurances that the cold months will still be covered. It was ironic that on the day they announced the cut it was one of the coldest days of the year.

Debbie’s disability allowance wasn’t affected but there are others who were. The government weren’t thinking about those people at all.

I’m glad about Carer’s but things like gas and electricity already went up before the Budget came in. My car is diesel and that’s going to be affected too. So there’ll be no extra money coming into the house to accommodate these extra costs.

If we’re going to have to do this for the next number of years, how much worse is it going to get? We’re not going to get a rise in income or a rise in benefits, so we’re going to get squeezed tighter and tighter. I can see serious poverty in this country. And this cutting people at the worst time of the year makes it harder. How can parents turn around to their children and say there’ll be no presents at Christmas?

I feel sorry for young parents who have had their Children’s Allowance cut. The government has no idea what they’re doing to them. They don’t realise how much someone on a small income depends on that.

I do worry about my children and their families because they’re going to be so squeezed over the next few years.

I bought a diesel car specifically because I thought it would make more sense in the long run. Now that doesn’t matter. I will notice a huge difference come the new year.

I’ve heard the government talking about adjusting the dole to encourage people to get back to work – but there’s no jobs. We know there are dossers there who will take advantage, but there are so many genuinely decent people who have never had to draw dole before, and there’s just no jobs for them.

I know there are people ten times worse off but I don’t for one minute think it’s a fair Budget.

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