Family carers are protesting outside the Dáil today to voice their upset at the Budget’s failure to deal with what they term as a “home care crisis”. 

They point out carers are saving the State some €10 billion in costs annually, but say those providing care are not getting the support they need.

“Family carers feel that Government has ignored them and denied them. We’d go as far as to say Government is exploiting family carers, ” Catherine Cox of Family Carers Ireland said.

Carers are particularly upset that Paschal Donohue’s Budget 2020 did not address the pressing issue of the Income Disregard Allowance  – how much money a carer who works extra hours in another job can earn before having their carer’s allowance cut.

Family Carers Ireland say this could lead to carer’s losing income when they try to ensure they might have a career or a job to return to after caring duties may come to an end.

They point to a recent survey of family carers which showed that almost 2 in 3 carers are providing more than 100 hours of care per week.

Some of the findings have been described as shocking and worrying.

  • 1 in 4 carers who provide providing 50+ hours of care per week do not get Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit
  • 1 in 3 carers have a diagnosis of depression
  • 4 in 10 carers have a diagnosis of anxiety
  • Over two thirds of carers suffer with physical ill health and 2 in 3 feel that their health had suffered as a result of caring
  • Access to routine supports have reduced since 2009, despite more carers providing round the clock care in 2019
  • 71% of carers’ loved ones have no access to respite – a system which gives carers a break of an hour or more each week.
  • 72% of carers  worry about not having enough money in the future.

They say carers are at the mercy of a “postcode lottery” with huge disparity in services depending on where a family lives.
Family Carers Ireland also says thousands of carers are reaching burnout. “It’s a crisis and we’re being ignored by the government,” Catherine Cox said.