My name is Pat O’Mahony. I write to you with a heavy heart, and the concern of a man who is caring for my beloved wife of 30 years, Margaret — a mum of four, a music fanatic, a polio survivor who can no longer look after herself.
I am her hands and legs since her post-polio syndrome (PPS) robbed her of what is taken for granted 20 years ago. Margaret had polio when she was a five-months-old baby. She partially recovered, became employed, paid her PRSI and taxes for many years. But PPS struck in her 40s.
the amount paid out in pay increments to public service this year costs ten times what will be saved by cut in respite care grant #vinb— Stephen Kearon (@skearon) December 11, 2012
It destroyed her muscles to the extent that she is in a wheelchair, caused sleeping, breathing and speech difficulties, and means all her food and drinks are of a “custard” consistency.
She can’t regulate her body temperature, walk anymore, bathe or care for herself. I’ve cared for my wife since 1998 when it became apparent we had no option. I gave up my work as an engineer. We didn’t have a choice. Life is a daily struggle.
Before the election you pointed out the problems with the then government. But two years on and the same could be said of you.
You, Pat Rabbitte, said the respite change is a “modest” cut. It might be to you, with TD and ministerial pay, and expenses and other allowances. But to us it is a lifeline, and you are the straw breaking the camel’s back. I would happily trade places if you want to see what a “modest” cut means.
Without the Carers’ Association, I don’t know what I’d have done. My wife would probably be in a nursing home by now.
But you? You don’t listen, and we’re ashamed.
We can’t emigrate or escape. Margaret believes you’d be happier if she dies.
The country might be screwed but I didn’t do it. Margaret didn’t do it. But you don’t give a fiddler’s.
Pat O’Mahony, 53, husband and carer to Margaret.
The number of people forced onto waiting lists for the carers’ allowance has almost trebled since the Coalition was elected.
Figures show that at the start of this month 8,981 people were told to queue for the support, compared to 7,765 at the start of this year and 3,769 in the weeks before the election in 2011.
The delays — which include 517 people waiting over a year — are the worst since the recession began in 2008. However, the Department of Social Protection said the number of carers’ allowance claims registered has fallen, from 18,928 in 2008 to 14,888 this year.
Almost half of those currently waiting have seen their €204 basic weekly help delayed for over six months.