Carers prepare for Dáil demonstration

Hundreds of family carers are heading to the Dáil this afternoon to voice their outrage at Budget 2013.

They are demanding the government reverse a €325 cut to the respite care grant, which was announced just last week.

The grant is paid to around 70,000 family carers nationwide. The cut has prompted outrage as for around 20,000 carers, it is the only payment they receive.

Inside the Dáil, TDs will this afternoon begin debating the social welfare budget measures, ahead of a debate in two days' time.

Labour Party Chief Whip Emmett Stagg said today that the money that will be saved through respite care grant cuts cannot be found anywhere else.

Deputy Stagg, speaking to Kfm, said that despite the cut, the grant is still higher than 2006 levels.

"The cost of taking a break has reduced dramatically from the time it [the grant] went up to €1,700," he said.

"It's higher now, with the reduction, than it was in 2006.

"I know it's a problem for people because they need to use it for other things, maybe essentials like buying oil.

"I don't know any other way of finding that €26m within the social welfare budget.

"Nobody who criticised it on any side has said where it should be found."

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