Castlebar based Fianna Fáil election candidate Lisa Chambers has said that if elected she will press for an emergency helpline for young carers. She told a meeting of carers in Castlebar that young carers should have 24 hour, seven day a week, access to ready help, advice, and support. Ms Chambers said that there are 3,000 carers under the age of 17 in the country, and in many cases they are carrying out their duties isolated and alone.
“Young carers deserve support and help, and in time of emergency they should have access to a dedicated, full time, helpline service,” she said. Ms Chambers also promised that she would support an increase in the number of hours a carer is allowed to work outside the home from 15 to 20. “Carers need to be able to work outside the home, not just for financial reasons but also for social contact and to reduce the isolation which is often the lot of those caring at home for sick or elderly dependants,” she said.
She also said that she would favour the abolition of means testing for carers as soon as economic conditions allowed. Asked about the National Carers Strategy, she said she would support its publication and the phased implementation of its proposals when fully costed.