Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD, says it is not too late to reverse the callous cut to the Respite Care Grant.

“The Government is fully aware how deeply unfair this cut is,” said Deputy O’Dea.

“The Respite Care Grant is a vital source of income for the 77,000 carers in Ireland who are in receipt of the once off annual payment. The various excuses offered by Government Ministers over the last few days for cutting the grant are wholly unacceptable.

“The Taoiseach told the Dáil today that the Respite Care Grant costs the state €770 million a year. It seems to me that he is refusing to understand how brutally unfair it is .These carers are not a burden on the state, in fact they save the state over €4 billion every year by selflessly providing care for their loved ones. How can anyone justify this cold and callous cut?

“The carers in Ireland deserve to be cherished rather than punished. We will all play our part in resolving the problems the country faces but this is just naked cruelty. In an adjustment of €3.5 billion, €26 million is a relatively small amount and I would urge the Government to look at this again.

“It seems that the Government are hell bent on not performing any embarrassing U-turns like it did last year with the cuts to DEIS schools and Personal Assistants hours. This is not about the Government saving face, it is about doing the right thing for the 77,000 carers in Ireland.

“I am making one last appeal for the Minister for Social Protection and the Government to revisit these cuts and to reverse them. It is not too late.”