Limerick senator wants greater support for carers

Senator Maria Byrne

THE plight of carers who do not receive any payment within the home was raised in the Seanad this week by Fine Gael Senator Maria Byrne.

The Limerick politician acknowledged the fantastic work done by carers and reminded the Government that only one in every four carers is in receipt of carer’s allowance or benefit.

“All the rest receive nothing. There are so many carers within the home who do not receive any payment,” Senator Byrne commented.

“I think of the resilience carers had during the Covid-19 pandemic and how they kept their loved ones and more vulnerable people in society safe and looked after them extremely well. A carer appeared on the Drivetime programme on RTÉ Radio 1 and their story really moved me.

“They moved from Cork to Clare. When they were in Cork, they had support coming into the house for five days a week, as well as access to transport, but when they moved to Clare they got two and a half days a week. Recently they were told it would go up to three days a week in November but they went from full service to half service.”

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Senator Byrne took the view that their needs to be parity across the system, and it should not matter where you live.

“If you are entitled to five days of support, you should be getting five days. I note Family Carers Ireland has acknowledged the wonderful work Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys, has done. She certainly has listened a lot in terms of the pension allowance and the extension of the fuel allowance.

“However, it all goes back to the fact that three carers out of every four are in receipt of nothing. It should nearly be about an assessment of need, rather than an assessment based on how much money a person has or whatever their savings are.

“We need to move to that way of thinking because carers do wonderful work in keeping our vulnerable people safe and they deserve to get the respect and help they need,” she concluded.