Letterkenny Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry Mc Monagle is calling on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Social Protection to reverse the cuts imposed on carers in 2013 and to reinstate the respite care grant in full.
Cllr Mc Monagle said carers are among the hardest working groups in society.
“The work they do is invaluable to their families and communities and their work saves the state millions of euro every year.
“Instead of appropriately recognising and rewarding this contribution the government has instead cut benefits, including the Respite Care Grant. The meager €5.00 extra in children’s allowance won’t make up for that.
“As public representatives we hear testimonies from parents and carers who can’t afford to heat their homes, can’t afford to buy new shoes for their children and who haven’t been able to go on a family holiday for years. The Respite Care Grant is used by families to pay for necessities as well as treats and its cut has caused enormous hardship for thousands of families.”
“ The government in its recent budget had many options in terms of trying to reverse some of the worst impacts of successive austerity budgets. Restoring the Respite Care Grant should have been a priority. What we are saying is that it is not too late. In the overall scheme of things we are not talking about a huge sum of money – just €29.6 million – out of a budget of billions”
Cllr Mc Monagle concluded by saying “As our economy begins the slow journey towards recovery, I would urge the Government to recognise the home as a centre of care and signal their commitment to recognising and respecting carers and respond to their needs by beginning to reinstate the Respite Care Grant to its original payment of €1,700”.