Tipperary Young Carer of the Year Jack Cooney with his brother James and mother Linda McCarthy.
Clonmel’s Jack Cooney, the son of Linda McCarthy and James Cooney, has been caring for older brother James who has cerebral palsy since he was two-years-old.
“Jack is always worrying about his older brother. If he is going to a match at the weekend he will make sure that it isn’t too cold to have James outdoors. I’m always trying to shield Jack and tell him ‘It’s ok, I can do it’ but he insists on caring for his brother. Jack doesn’t see James as being different to anyone else, and the special bond they share makes me unbelievably proud,” Linda smiles.
Linda feels Jack is “completely different” to other kids his age. “We have video footage of a two-year-old Jack pushing James around in his wheelchair. Jack goes to all of James' school plays and helps him prepare for the Special Olympics. He is honoured to receive the Tipperary Young Carer of the Year Award, and it's only now that his friends in fourth class and teachers at Rathkeevin National School realise how much help he gives James,” she adds.
“We introduced the young carers award this year to generate awareness that there are young carers out there like Jack. There are 138 young carers under the age of 18 in Tipperary and 5,000 young carers across Ireland who do tremendous work and get very little recognition.
“While some young carers have the support of parents, others are caring for loved ones on their own. I encourage them to make contact with Family Carers Ireland’s Clonmel office on Sarsfield Street on 052-6170455. We hope to set up a support group locally for young carers in the near future,” Cllr. Molloy concludes.