The Government acknowledges the important role that family carers play and is fully committed to supporting carers in that role. This commitment is recognised in both the Programme for a Partnership Government and the National Carers’ Strategy.
The Department of Health has responsibility for the National Carers’ Strategy which sets out the strategic direction for future policies, supports and services provided by Government Departments and agencies for carers.
The primary responsibility for providing respite care facilities and services rests with the Health Service Executive.
My Department provides a range of supports to those who are caring for family members, friends or neighbours. These measures aim to recognise the needs of carers through the provision of appropriate income supports, to enable carers to remain in touch with the labour market to the greatest extent possible and to empower carers to participate fully in economic and social life.
These income supports include the following:
- Carer’s Allowance
- Carer’s Benefit
- Carer’s Support Grant
- Domiciliary Care Allowance
Spending on these payments in 2019 is expected to exceed €1.2 billion.
In December, I approved funding of over €1.7 million to provide a range of training and supports for family carers under the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2018. The scheme is being administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department and 13 projects were selected to deliver training, information and related support services for family carers.
These projects are:-
- Family Carers Ireland, Dublin
- St Munchin’s Community Centre Company Limited by Guarantee, Limerick
- IRD Duhallow Company Limited by Guarantee, Cork
- Galway Autism Partnership Company Limited by Guarantee, Galway
- Irish Foster Care Association Company Limited by Guarantee, Dublin
- Carebright Company Limited by Guarantee, Limerick
- Irish Heart Foundation, Dublin
- National Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Ireland Ltd, Dublin
- Care Alliance Ireland (in collaboration with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland)
- ABAILE Autism Support Company Limited By Guarantee, Louth
- Peter Bradley Foundation Company Limited By Guarantee (t/a Acquired Brain Injury Ireland), Dublin
- St Francis Hospice, Dublin
- The Rehab Group, Dublin
Finally, as part of its commitment under the Carers’ Strategy, my Department also hosts an Annual Carers' Forum for carers and their representative organisations which affords an opportunity for carers to engage with the relevant Departments and state agencies on an ongoing basis.
The most recent Forum was held on 21 May and was attended by over 70 participants who were individual carers and representatives of carers’ organisations, including Care Alliance Ireland and Family Carers Ireland. Participating Departments and agencies in the Forum were Health; Children and Youth Affairs; Education and Skills; Justice and Equality; Housing, Planning and Local Government; and Transport, Tourism and Sport, Health Service Executive and Tusla.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.