Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr. Deirdre Heney
Dublin Bay North

26 November 2015

Action must be taken to ensure sufficient supports for Carers – Heney

Deirdre Heney, Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Dublin Bay North has hit out at the savage cuts to carers which have been implemented by this Government in successive Budgets. Carers play a vital role in our society but have been undermined by a raft of sneaky changes to their allowances over the past four years.

Cllr Heney, who last week hosted a public meeting on caring for dementia, commented, “Carers in the home provide essential services to the State by looking after vulnerable loved ones.  Many carers have to deal with extremely difficult situations day in day out but are not properly financially supported by the State.  In fact, over the past four years carers have been targeted by this Government, which has cut respite care grant by 20% in the 2013 Budget. These are people who play an integral role in supporting the vulnerable yet Fine Gael and Labour have been chipping away at their livelihoods.

“Fianna Fáil introduced the Carers Allowance back in 1999 to recognise the important role that carers play and to ensure that they were properly supported.  There are around 70,000 carers across Ireland, and many of them are struggling to manage on the current payments.  They are becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation and feel as if no-one is listening to them.

“Fianna Fáil published a policy paper to address the financial problems being faced by carers in this country.  These proposals include:
∙ A re-examination of the Household Benefits Package, including the reconnection of a telephone line;
∙ Changes to the prescription charge: Where a single prescribed item is required to be dispensed in different strengths and containers it should be treated as one item rather than multiple items;
∙ The re-introduction of a Mobility Allowance or Motorised Transport Grant;
∙ A call for resources collected from the Property Tax to be used at local level for schemes such as the Housing Adaptation Grant;
∙ An examination of the possibility of placing home care services on a statutory basis

“More needs to be done to support carers. This Government has failed to recognise the vital work that they do and we want to change that. These measures will go some way to improving the financial situation for carers in the North and acknowledge the work that carers carry out on a daily basis”.