Press Release

Minister Daly attends the British-Irish Council Social Inclusion Work Sector Ministerial Meeting

The Minister with Special Responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD, today attended the seventh ministerial meeting of the British-Irish Council’s Social Inclusion work sector in Edinburgh. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the challenges facing carers across the eight BIC administrations and to launch a good practice guide entitled “Caring for Our Carers: Supporting Unpaid Carers in the British-Irish Council Administrations”. This report is the culmination of over two years’ work into researching the various approaches to supporting unpaid and family carers by the member administrations.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister Daly noted that the guide was “a fine example of how collaboration between the administrations on these islands can enable us all to learn from each other and adapt our respective responses to the rising number of carers caring for people with long term illnesses, disability or frailty.”

Minister Daly mentioned a number of initiatives that support carers in Ireland under the National Carers Strategy and related strategies. These include the recent extension of payment of the Carer’s Allowance for twelve weeks following the death or entry into long-term residential care of the person being cared for, the Dementia Elevator national education and empowerment programme, and the promotion of assistive technology through the HSE’s national memory technology resource room network. The Government also plans to provide free GP visit cards to all those in receipt of Carers Allowance and Carers Benefit. The Minister also highlighted the work of the non-governmental sector to support carers.

As part of the research carried out to determine best practices, the British-Irish Council visited member administrations to hear from carers and representative organisations about the difficulties and barriers they face. Officials from the Council visited Ireland in early 2017. Minister Daly noted the co-operation received from various organisations during the visit and more broadly during the work sector’s two year focus on carers. These include Family Carers Ireland, the Care Alliance, Anam Cara, the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, the ASI carers’ support group at Clonmacnoise Day Centre, the research team of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing in Trinity College Dublin, the HSE’s Mental Health Engagement Unit, and the individual carers who gave an insight into the challenges they face on a daily basis.

ENDS

Notes for Editors

The British-Irish Council aims to allow for the exchange of information, discussion, consultation and co-operation on subjects of mutual interest among its eight member governments and administrations. The British-Irish Council is one of three institutions established under the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, representing the east-west dimension of relations between the Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom, the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the crown dependencies of the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.. The Council was established to further promote positive, practical relationships among the people of the islands and to provide a forum for consultation and co-operation. The formal purpose of the Council is “to promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the peoples of these islands… the BIC will exchange information, discuss, consult and use best endeavours to reach agreement on co-operation on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the relevant administrations”.

Social Inclusion is one of 11 work sectors under the remit of the Council, encompassing a wide range of social, economic and environmental topics.