Increased supports for carers and people with disabilities

‘We can’t quantify the contribution of carers to society and neither can we repay it in full’

An additional € 10 million had been allocated for people with disabilities over and above what had been announced on Budget day in October.

An additional € 10 million had been allocated for people with disabilities over and above what had been announced on Budget day in October.

 

A number of measures to increase supports for people with disabilities and their carers, such as increased respite hours and better access to local GPs, has been agreed by Cabinet.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said an additional € 10 million had been allocated for people with disabilities over and above what had been announced on Budget day in October.

Finian McGrath, the Minister of State with responsibility for disability issues, said gaps had been identified in new service strategies and the Government is now moving to fill them.

Respite care houses

Of the €10million, €8million is for 12 respite care houses around the country, which will provide approximately 19,000 respite nights per year. Mr McGrath said this would particularly help those who care for middle-aged people with disabilities.

“Particularly respite for elderly parents who have middle-aged sons and daughters with physical and intellectual disabilities who have been lacking in respite and don’t have enough respite,” the Dublin Bay North TD said.

The new plan will be rolled out by Mr Harris, Mr McGrath, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty and Jim Daly, Minister of State for Older People.

A further € 2 million will be used for schemes such as day services. The Government announcement on Tuesday will also allow all those in receipt of carer’s allowance to qualify for a GP visit card.

‘Direct response’

Mr Harris said this would require primary legislation and would help “tens of thousands” of carers. “This is a direct response to hearing the voice of carers when they ask who cares for them when they need medical attention,” Mr Harris said.

The changes to GP visit cards are likely to take effect from next summer, and the cost is expected to be € 11 million next year.

“We can’t quantify the contribution of carers to society and the work they do and neither can we repay it in full,” Mr Daly said. “But this is a step by the Government, first of all to show our recognition and appreciation to carers for the work they do, and trying to alleviate their cross and their suffering. It is a small step but it is a very significant step.”