Carers Vocation should be recognised

June 9th, 2008 - Pat Breen
Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen speaking today said that the role of the Carers should be recognised. Deputy Breen was speaking at the beginning of National Carers weeks which this year runs from today Monday 9th June to Sunday 15th June 2008.

“Over 40,000 (27% of carers) carers are providing 43 or more hours of unpaid care per week: over 23,000 (16%) of carers provide 15-42 hours of unpaid personal help per week or between 2 and 6 hours per day; and over 84,000 (57% of carers) are providing 1-14 hours of unpaid care each week, according to the Census 2002.”

“Carers are the unsung heroes and heroines of our county. They dedicate their lives to caring, however, this vocation is not recognised. While the carers allowance and carers benefit has increased it is means tested and many do not qualify when their partner’s earnings are calculated.”
“The financial supports should be put in place to recognise the true value of the carer and they should include:  
Individual assessment for the Carers Allowance means test.
The situation where a small number of elderly people and widow/widowers are disqualified from receiving Carers must change to allow these carers receive a half-payment of the Carers Allowance on top of their State pension as a mark of recognition for their work.
 PRSI contributions should be awarded on the same basis as paid contributions while caring.
A Pensions Saving Arrangement must be put in place.”