Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White has called on Social Protection Minister Joan Burton to ensure that carers are protected in the upcoming budget.
The Dublin Senator joined a protest of carers outside Leinster House today, against the 19% cut in the Respite Care Grant in Budget 2013.
“This Government must realise that carers are at breaking point following a series of savage cuts, most notably the 19% reduction to the Respite Care Grant,” Senator White said.
“As Budget 2014 fast approaches, the Minister for Social ProtectionJoan Burton who has presided over these cuts must make a commitment to start supporting carers. Over the past two years, Minister Burton and Labour and Fine Gael colleagues have been engaged in a sustained attack on people with disabilities and their carers. This must stop now.
“Not only has Minister Joan Burton failed to reverse, reduce or even review the 19% cut to the Respite Care Grant, she has also refused to engage with carers and their representatives about this reduction and about the future of supports for carers.
“This is National Carers’ week and it should be about celebrating those who sacrifice so much to look after those with disabilities and serious illness, and their immense contribution to society. Instead, carers are angry and disappointed that they are being neglected and they feel they have no choice but to take to the streets to make their voices heard.
“Every worker in this country is entitled to two or three weeks holiday a year, so why are carers suffering a hit to their respite? A new survey released by Carers’ Alliance Ireland revealed that full time carers work an average of 110 hours a week.
“Carers just cannot take any more hits. This Government must stop undervaluing one of its most important communities,” concluded Senator White.