6,480 family carers in Laois
Family Carers Ireland have held a public meeting to highlight challenges facing carers in Laois and other midland counties Offaly, Longford, Westmeath as well as Roscommon and Meath.
The event entitled ‘Carers in Crisis: Ending the Postcode Lottery’ took place in Bloomfield House Hotel, Belvedere, Mullingar.
There are an estimated 6,480 family carers in Laois providing 45 hours of care per week in their homes.
The meeting heard from two local family carers shared their stories and highlighted the issues they experience in their locality as carers.
Cecilia Warren was the first speaker, she cares for her mother, (91), and father (90). Marie Deely was the second speaker who cares for her father and brother, highlighting the need for politicians to secure better supports for carers. She spoke about it being time to start caring about the carer and wanting to keep loved ones at home where they want to be.
Head of Communications and Carer Engagement Catherine Cox gave a presentation on Family Carers Ireland’s “Carers Guarantee” campaign to secure core support services for family carers in all parts of the country. By increasing funding for Family Carers Ireland by €3.2m a year, she said the State can end the postcode lottery and guarantee access to: emergency respite, individual support, training, networking, information and advocacy.
Ms Cox called for fair access to help regardless of where people live.
“Family Carers Ireland is urging politicians to pledge their support for the Carers Guarantee to eliminate the postcode lottery of supports and services.
“Additional funding of just €3.2m would enable equal access to supports for all family carers wherever they might live.
“We would also urge politicians to act on the five priority local issues and to keep family carers firmly on the agenda in Leinster House, local council chambers, regional health forums and the European Parliament,” she said.
The organisation says the work of family carers is saving the state €10 billion every year. It says one in ten people provide care to a loved one and by 2030, demographic changes predict that one in five people will take on a caring role.
Five priority local issues were agreed by carers and Family Carers Ireland. These ‘call to action’ issues will be made a primary focus going forward.
The five priority local issues were:
1. Means test for Carer’s Allowance
2. Health and wellbeing of carers
5. Home help hours
Robert Troy TD, Willie Penrose TD, Brian Stanley TD, Peter Burke TD, Eugene Murphy TD, Carol Nolan TD, Cllr Paul Ross and Cllr Sarah Reilly among the politicians in attendance.
Family Carers Ireland have held six public meetings nationwide covering all areas of Ireland. They thank all carers who have attended and contributed.