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Cullinane challenges Government on the need to deliver a national carers strategy

30 June, 2011

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has challenged the Government on the need for a long overdue national carer’s strategy. He pointed out that the latest census figures show that there are 148,754 carers in this state with 40,526 full time family carers. He reiterated his party’s long standing call for the publication of a comprehensive strategy for carers.

Senator Cullinane also criticised the Minister for Social Protection who said that the framing and implementation of a strategy needs to 'take into account our IMF and EU Commitments'.

Speaking in the Seanad Senator Cullinane said

“Over 148,000 people in this state are carers. They provide over 3 million hours of work a year and save the state over €2billion annually. They provide high levels of care in the home for children with severe disabilities, adults with special needs, frail older people and people who are terminally ill. There is an urgent need for a support system for carers which takes account of today’s realities for families.

“I think it is wrong for the Minister to suggest that provision of such services needs to be seen in the context of our commitments to the IMF. The tens of thousands of people who provide care in the home made no such commitments. The IMF deal was signed by failed politicians and was rejected by the people of this state in the General Election. The rights and needs of carers should not be subject to the whims of international money men or financiers. The state has a responsibility to deliver for its citizens.

“I am calling on the Government to stop hiding behind the failures of the previous Government or demands sets by the IMF. It is high time that this state gives formal recognition to the societal importance of the work that carers do. They must bring forward a strategy for carers but go further and deliver on the many needs that carers have.”

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