Respite care grant cuts leave carers ‘angry and bitterly disappointed’

Cuts announced in budget came into force last week

Fran Kane with her son JJ Kane, from Tallaght , and Carolyn Akintola, Tallaght, who cares fro her mother Elsie, who is on peretonial dialysis three time a day, as the Carers Association protested outside Leinster House yesterday.
Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fran Kane with her son JJ Kane, from Tallaght , and Carolyn Akintola, Tallaght, who cares fro her mother Elsie, who is on peretonial dialysis three time a day, as the Carers Association protested outside Leinster House yesterday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tue, Jun 11, 2013, 17:07

A cut in the respite grant of almost 20 per cent has been described as the “last straw” for carers.

The Government implemented the cuts this week which were announced in the December budget. Approximately 77,000 carers will see their respite grant cut from €1,700 to €1,375.

Several dozen carers staged a protest at the gates of Leinster House yesterday to highlight the fact that reduced payments were made last Thursday.

This was despite the campaign Give Carers a Break which was set up in the hope that the Government would reconsider the cuts.

Carers Association spokeswoman Catherine Cox said carers were left “angry and bitterly disappointed” by the decision, which came on top of cuts to the mobility allowance grant, the housing adoption grant and home-help services.

Although the grant is ostensibly for carers and families to take a break, it is often used to pay general bills.

“Many others use it to pay their bill and keep their heads above water,” Ms Cox said. “Carers have said they have had to turn off their heating earlier this year. They have had to cut back on basic necessities such as food. Carers are here today to say that they just can’t take any more.”

Young carer of the year Sam Norris (15), who looks after his sister Demi (16), who has Cohen Syndrome, a physical and mental disability, and his brother Adam (7), who has autism, described the cuts as “heartless”.

Sam said his mother Antoinette was down €2,200 in cuts already and was faced with bills to get the shower and toilet fixed. “This cut makes it even worse for us,” he said.