Carers put their questions to candidates

Home carers from all over South Tipperary will be quizzing general election candidates today (Wednesday) about what their parties will do if they get into government to improve services and supports for them.

Home carers from all over South Tipperary will be quizzing general election candidates today (Wednesday) about what their parties will do if they get into government to improve services and supports for them.

Candidates have been invited to a public meeting organised by the Carers Association in Hearns Hotel in Clonmel at 11am today to hear what South Tipperary's carers need from the new government and to present their cases for why carers should vote for them.

Clonmel Carers Resource Centre Manager Richie Molloy said the meeting was a chance for carers to impress upon the candidates the issues facing them and that they can't be forgotten by the next government.

He pointed out that carers save the State a huge amount of money by enabling elderly and sick loved ones live at home for longer.

The public meeting follows the publication last week of the Carers Manifesto, a shopping list of improved supports, funding and services that family carers want the next government to deliver. Family carers have been badly hit by budget cuts to the Carers Allowance in the last two years.

The manifesto calls for the publication of a National Strategy for Carers, a medical card for all carers, the legal right for carers to a needs assessment including health and social needs, funding increases for home care and respite services, better and more flexible home help and in-home respite care as well as psychological support and funding to all full time carers for training and back-to-work training.

It also calls for the immediate end to the "inequitable practice" of families in receipt of carers allowance being excluded from home help services.

The Carers Association has issued a yellow canvas card of six questions to its members to put to candidates who call to their door asking for their vote during the election campaign.

Clonmel Carers Association Resource Centre Manager Richie Molloy said most of South Tipperary's election candidates were expected at the Carers public meeting.

He encouraged all carers unable to attend the public meeting to obtain the Carers Association canvas card and put the questions themselves to candidates who canvas them.

As part of the Carers Association's pre-election campaign, carers are also being called on to submit to the Association's website a photo of themselves holding a placard outlining what they want the next Government to deliver for them.

"There are more than 3,000 carers in South Tipperary and we are calling on them to submit a photo so that they are no longer seen as the invisible workforce," said Mr Molloy.