MINISTER Pat Rabbitte said today that he is pleased that the government have protected certain payments to carers.
Later today family carers are to stage a protest outside Leinster House to demand the restoration of a cut to the Respite Care Grant.
The Government announced in Wednesday's Budget that there would be a 19pc cut, worth €325, to the grant.
But speaking in Cork this morning, Mr Rabbitte, been Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said that the separate weekly allowance was the government’s “absolute priority”.
“I am very pleased that we have protected the weekly payment to carers, that we protected the weekly allowance and the half allowance to carers that was the absolute priority,” he said.
However the Carers' Association says it has been inundated with calls from family carers who are frightened and angered by the cuts.
Mr Rabbitte said he sympathises with the views of the protestors.
“Of course I feel sympathy with the carers. The voluntary contribution they make caring for their loved ones is unrivaled and it would cost the state more if they didn’t.
“Fact of the matter is that we are trying to maintain a safety net for these people and that is a struggle,” he said.