This week myself and other TDs from the technical group will be highlighting the plight of carers on the back of Budget 2013, and demanding the Fine Gael and Labour reverse the reductions in the Respite Care Grant.
The full Budget for disability services for 2013 has not been published. Minister Kathleen Lynch has confirmed that the savings required globally from the Health Budget will have an impact on all services, including disability services, and these will be outlined when the Minister approves the HSE National Service Plan for 2013 in January. It is therefore not possible to say at this time what the total budget for disability services will be in 2013.
Before further cuts in the disability sector emerge, the technical group is pushing back on some of the government cuts targeted at the disabled and their carers. We will be bringing proposals to the Dáil on Tuesday evening that highlight the contribution carers make to Irish society, and provide them with adequate income supports. You can read the full motion here.
In Wicklow alone there are 5,131 full time carers. They are the backbone and the frontline of our healthcare system. Family Carers provide €4 billion worth of care annually and deserve support and credit for their tireless work, but the government is offering them cutbacks instead. I am calling on Fine Gael and Labour to reverse the cuts to Respite Care Grant announced in Budget 2013, to eliminate the current backlog of carers allowance applications by early 2013, and to provide Free GP care to full time Family Carers as soon as possible.