Press Release

Callely open the European Conference of the Caring for Carers Association entitled ´Carers Charter – A European Charter´

Mr Ivor Callely T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today, (30 January 2004) opened the European Conference of the Caring for Carers Association entitled ´Carers Charter – A European Charter´ at the National College of Ireland, IFSC.

Caring for Carers is a national non-governmental organisation providing support to family carers through a network of fifty carers´ groups throughout Ireland.

The aim of the conference is to share with European Carers groups the experience gained in Ireland by being the first European country to have a Carers Charter, and to present the position of carers to policy makers and legislators on a European level.

Minister Callely paid tribute to the enormous contribution made to society by the good work of carers in the home. While acknowledging that the Government still had some work to do, he stressed that enormous progress had been made in the last few years to address some of the issues which concerned carers, including the following:

  • additional funding of over €6 million to the health boards specifically for the support of carers.
  • over €12 million was allocated to the Boards since 1999 to recruit more paramedical and nursing staff to provide locally based services for older people and their carers.

These, along with other measures by his Department and the provision of a number of measures by the Department of Social and Family Affairs including:

  • a new Carer´s Benefit Scheme
  • increases in the Carers Allowance
  • the extension of free schemes such as free electricity allowance, free telephone rental, free TV licence and an annual payment towards the cost of respite care to those in receipt of Carers Allowance demonstrate in tangible terms the commitment of this Government to the support of carers and those dependent on them.

Minister Callely also mentioned the setting up of an Inter-Departmental Group which he chairs, which was formed to take a broader look at issues that affected primarily older people. Support for carers, he said, would be an important part of this important Group´s work.

He concluded by congratulating the organization on their work on behalf of carers and re-iterated the Government´s commitment to the improvement of the circumstances of this selfless, often unheralded segment of our society.