WEST Cork TD Jim Daly has drafted legislation that will entitle all full time carers to a respite period at least once every month.
Should the proposed law be enacted, it will for the first time ever place respite services on a statutory footing, and compel the Health Service Executive to provide the care.Fine Gael TD Jim Daly says while his Bill does run to five pages of detail, its intention could not be simpler.
‘This Bill has been produced to give carers one full day off to themselves, at least once per month. There are many carers doing a wonderful service to their loved ones, and indeed to the State. They are all human, however, and like us all, they too need a break every so often,’ he said.
‘It may be just a day off to get the hair done, go out for a bite of lunch and maybe the cinema, or it may be to give some time with another loved one in the home who misses out, due to their parents being so busy looking after the person being cared for,’ he added.
This will not affect the Carer’s Support Grant which is currently available to carers, at a rate of €1,700 a year. ‘My Bill does not propose to reduce the grant rate. However, money was often thrown at these types of issues in the past as a quick fix, and it does not work. We have to make the services available to people. These carers typically put themselves last, and will spend the grant on some other essential care element, going without a break themselves.’
He said the Bill would compel the HSE to provide one 12-hour period of care to every carer who requests it, by giving three weeks’ notice to the HSE.
‘It’s the very least the State can do for these people who surrender their freedom on a 24/7 basis to care and assist their loved ones.’
Deputy Daly has sought permission from the Ceann Comhairle to introduce his Bill in the Dáil, and hopes to do so on Wednesday May 3rd.