Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs & Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD has published a new policy document aimed at improving supports for Carers.
It’s estimated that by 2030 one in five people in Ireland will be Carers, however the current support structure falls significantly short of what is needed.
This document sets out a pathway to improving services and supports.
Deputy O’Dea commented, “Carers in Ireland have been completely undervalued by this government, despite providing essential supports to their loved ones at a substantially reduced cost to the State. I have been advocating for better conditions for Carers for years, and introduced the Nursing Home Support Scheme Bill back in 2016. However Fine Gael rejected it claiming that it would introduce its own homecare policy – three years later and there is still no sign of one.
“The delay in supports for Carers is completely unacceptable. I have been meeting with Carers advocacy groups on a regular basis and have published a number of proposals to ensure that Carers are properly supported”.
These proposals include:
1. Increasing the time allowed for work study training form 15hrs at present to 18.5hrs per week (including voluntary work).
2. Increasing the income disregard from €332.50 for a single person and €665 for a married couple to €450 and €900 per week respectively. This would be done over the lifetime of the next Government.
3. Extending free travel to include children in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance.
4. Reintroducing the Transport Support Scheme announced in 2013 as a replacement for the Mobility Allowance and Motorized Transport Grant.
5. Extending the number of weeks Carers Benefit is paid from 104 weeks to 156 weeks
“These proposals have the potential to improve the lives of Carers across the country. This government has done nothing to support the vital work that Carers carry out on a daily basis and this cannot be tolerated any longer”, concluded Deputy O’Dea.