Sinn Féin Mayo TD Rose Conway-Walsh has urged all parties to back Sinn Féin’s ‘A Charter For Family Carers’, which was launched this week.
The document outlines proposals to stand up for Family Carers and ensure they get the break they need by delivering vital financial and emotional support.
Teachta Dala Conway-Walsh said: "Family Carers do highly-skilled, often exhausting work in caring for a loved one. They feel completely abandoned and ignored by the government, who have been failing for years to give them the support they deserve and should be entitled to.
"This neglect has been felt for years but the pandemic has put even more pressure on Family Carers as day services and other crucial supports have been withdrawn.
"Family Carers here in Mayo and right across the state need more than just lip service from politicians - they need change now.
"We must act now to ensure that they get the supports they need. Sinn Féin is today publishing ‘A Charter For Family Carers’ which sets out a detailed and fully costed package of proposals to deliver this change.
"A key part of our proposals is increasing the income disregards for Carer’s Allowance, which have remained unchanged since 2008. Our Charter details how we can deliver vital financial support by increasing the Carer's Allowance and Carer's Benefit from €219 to €255 and increasing the annual Carer's Support Grant by €150 to €2000. It also widens eligibility criteria, so more Carers can receive support instead of being shut out by income thresholds or due to being self-employed.
"Crucially, our Charter puts in place financial support for carers not only during their time of caring but also in retirement, by ensuring careful review of the new Total Contributions Approach to ensure that it actually benefits Carers.
"Importantly, it also delivers key emotional support by putting in place an Emergency Talk Therapy Fund, to give essential support to Family Carers, as many are currently feeling burnt out due to the pressures of the pandemic.
"It also ensures Family Carers are considered a priority group for the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine. This is essential, as many families have been effectively at home for over a year now as they try to keep their families safe from the virus.
"I am urging all parties to back Sinn Féin’s ‘A Charter For Family Carers’ and ensure that families finally get the break they need. It’s time to recognise the vital work Family Carers do and deliver these important supports."