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We must invest in the 66,000 carers who are the lifeline of our elderly

There would seem to be money for everything at government level.

In the civil service, pensions far in excess of the work performed are paid to people, already with full and plenty. Their salaries in their working lives were more than generous too.

Millions of euro are spent on tribunals of enquiry, on embassies, on trips abroad. The list is endless.

There seems to be money for everything but little for the people who dedicate their lives to others in our villages, towns, and cities

I am referring to the carers allowance administered by the Department of Social Welfare.

There are many cases that I have heard of: Firstly, a daughter caring for her widowed mother of 87 years is refused an allowance because there is another family member living in the house.

Another is where a mother was in receipt of the allowance, doing a 24-hour job of work caring for her son. Her husband died and the mother was given a widow’s pension but her carers allowance was terminated.

A third case involves a 63-year-old lady with a contributory widows pension and medical card who is suffering the agony of cancer.

The patient’s daughter-in-law has been blankly refused a carer’s allowance because the dying woman is 63 years of age, not 66 as required by the department and neither was she receiving one of the three departmental supports: blind person’s allowance, invalidity pension or disability pension needed to qualify.

All cases are nothing short of a cold-blooded scandal. The rules are so stringent that many thoroughly deserved claims are refused.

For the record, there are 66,000 carers who lack the necessary financial supports.

€60m has been invested in nursing homes but there should be a balance.

We also need investment in community and in families.

The necessary supports for these frail older people and their carers is not forthcoming.

The rules and red tape governing the payment of carers allowance must be amended if we are what we are reputed to be — a caring society.

I have raised this serious social problem at all opportunities but without success - so far.

There is no need to set up a tribunal of enquiry around this; the suffering is there for all to see.

This is state neglect of our old folk.

Cllr. Noel Collins

“St Jude’s”


Co Cork


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