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Carers Strategy.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 3 February 2009

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ceisteanna (23, 24)

Michael Creed

Ceist:

111 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the date the National Carers Strategy will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3259/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

119 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when she will publish a National Carers Strategy. [3219/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 111 and 119 together.

In January 2008 a working group, chaired by the Department of An Taoiseach, was established to develop the National Carers Strategy. My Department provides the secretariat to the working group which also includes representatives of the Departments of Finance, Health and Children and Enterprise, Trade and Employment as well as FÁS and the Health Service Executive. Considerable work was undertaken in developing the strategy during 2008.

The Department met with a wide range of organisations including the Equality Authority, Combat Poverty Agency, Citizen's Information Board, the National Council on Ageing and Older People, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the National Disability Authority.

In addition, a request for submissions from the public was published in regional and national newspapers in March 2008 which yielded a good response from both individuals and organisations.

The commitment to the development of a National Carers Strategy also includes a commitment to appropriate consultation with the social partners. An update in relation to the strategy was provided to the social partners plenary session in February. A consultation meeting with the social partners was held on 8 May 2008.

However, despite the work undertaken by the group, the context in which the strategy is being developed has been severely constrained by the immediate fiscal difficulties facing the economy. These difficulties have lead to uncertainty not just within the Department of Social and Family Affairs but also the health service and the range of organisations represented on the working group which made it impossible to bring the strategy to a satisfactory completion last year.

Officials from the Department and members of the working group met with carer representative groups in December 2008 in the second of two agreed meetings on the strategy. At this meeting the difficulties facing the working group as a result of the current economic situation were outlined. The groups were also informed that the strategy would not be published by the end of 2008 as had been anticipated. The draft document produced by the working group is currently being considered.

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