MORE than 120 people attended a meeting in Limerick last week when the key challenges facing carers in Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Clare and North Tipperary were highlighted.
Organised by Family Carers Ireland, ‘Carers in Crisis: Ending the Postcode Lottery’ provided an opportunity for political representatives to hear directly from local carers on the issues that affect them daily. Among those in attendance were Deputies Willie O’Dea, Tom Neville, Jan O’Sullivan, Niall Collins and Billy Kelleher .
They were addressed by 2017 Limerick Carer of the Year Jessica Bennett, who cares for her three children who all have diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and anxiety disorders.
Following an open floor questions and answers session, five priority local issues were agreed upon by carers and Family Carers Ireland. These ‘call to action’ issues will be made a primary focus going forward.
The five priority local issues were:
Respite and Emergency Respite – the lack of adequate respite services is putting a huge strain on Carers in the area.
Means testing for Carer’s Allowance, transport and therapies. Carers highlighted the need for additional funding in providing these services in the area.
The difficulty and challenges in transitioning people from children services into adult services. Mental Health Services, the lack of counselling services and the increased demand for them in the locality.
Head of Communications and Carer Engagement Catherine Cox gave a presentation on Family Carers Ireland’s “Carers Guarantee” campaign to secure core support services for family carers in all parts of the country.
“By increasing funding for Family Carers Ireland by €3.2 million a year, the State can end the postcode lottery and guarantee access to emergency respite, individual support, training and networking,” she said.