‘Give carers a break’ - call

Pictured launching The Carers Association's new 'Give Carers a Break Campaign' are family carers and stars of the campaign's short film, from right, carer Antoinette Norris, carer Carolyn Akintola and Margaret Whyte.
The Carers Association in Newbridge has launched a new campaign called ‘Give Carers a Break’ to stop the goverment from cutting vital supports and services for family carers.

The Carers Association in Newbridge has launched a new campaign called ‘Give Carers a Break’ to stop the goverment from cutting vital supports and services for family carers.

The campaign also calls on the government to review the recent cut to respite care grants for family carers.

“The respite care grant is a payment used towards giving the carer a break from their caring commitment yet this was cut by almost 20 percent in budget 2013,” said Catherine Cox of the Carers Association.

“It is completely unacceptable that government continues to target this vulnerable group with cuts and makes no sense, given the increased pressures this creates on our health services when family carers are forced to put loved ones into care.”

In the 2013 budget family carers in Newbridge and throughout Kildare received a cut to the Respite Care Grant from €1,700 to €1,375 each year.

Home help hours were also cut alongside a reduction in phone and electricity allowances in the Household Benefit Package, increased prescription charges and the abolition of the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant in February.

“Over the past 18 months Kildare’s 7,050 family carers have suffered the loss of vital respite services,” Ms Cox added.

“The cumulative effect of these cuts has been to make a mockery of Government’s stated policy to allow as many people as possible to be cared for and grow old in their own homes. Family carers provide unpaid care to society’s older people, those terminally ill and with disabilities, saving the health budget over four billion euro each year – yet they have no legal entitlement to holidays, breaks, time in lieu or even a day off from this demanding role”

The Carers Association also recently premiered the campaign’s new short film titled ‘Give Carers a Break’, showcasing the lives of carers.

To register support, view the film or join a petition to stop the cuts log on to at www.carersireland.com.

- Paula Campbell