Fianna Fáil has published a new position paper which aims to give more support and assistance to carers. These people play a vital role in our society, undertaking to look after an older person or person with a disability at a significantly reduced cost to the state. Despite the huge sacrifice they make on a daily basis, this Government has chosen to undermine and attack their funding and allowances over the past three years.
The document, published today by the party’s spokesperson on Social Protection and Social Equality Willie O’Dea, aims to give carers the recognition and support they need to continue in their role.
Deputy O’Dea commented, “All carers regardless of their means or social insurance contributions should be entitled to the Carers Allowance. Fianna Fáil is deeply opposed to the swingeing cuts that have been forced through by this Fine Gael-Labour Government unfairly penalising the 70,000 carers across this country.
“Fianna Fail introduced the Carers Allowance in 1999. It was granted to all carers providing full time care and assistance. This remains a key priority for this party. The current Government has implemented savage cuts on one of the most important sections of this society. Carers are becoming more distressed and frustrated as every year they see their allowances slashed or removed entirely.
The Fianna Fáil 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;
- Supports to be put in place to ensure that family carers with high essential water needs are catered for by any Irish Water charging scheme; and
- An examination of the possibility of placing home care services on a statutory basis
Deputy O’Dea will also introduce the first stage of the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2014 in the Dáil next Wednesday. The Act will allow for the provision of a home care package to anyone who qualifies for and is being offered long term residential care whereby a suitable home care package can be devised at a lower cost to the State than the residential care being offered.