'Invisible' carers ask State to see reason
Published 11/12/2010 | 05:00
AS she faces a cut in her Carer's Allowance, Carolyn Akintola now has to look closely at her finances and decide whether she can make the minor purchases that make a massive difference to the life of her mother, Elsie, who she cares for.
Last week's Budget announcement means her allowance will drop from €106 to €102, a small amount by most standards but crucial when expenditure is limited.
"Realistically, that €4 is for very small things which are important. It can be the difference between getting yogurt for Mum every week or not," she said. "Or getting her hair cut, rather than every two months, every three."
Ms Akintola was one of a group from the Carers Association who protested outside the Dail yesterday at the plans announced in the Budget.
The lobby group is calling for Fine Gael and Labour to reverse the decision if they get into office.
Both Ms Akintola, who suffers from a condition that affects her connective tissue called Ehlers--Danlos syndrome, and her mother are confined to wheelchairs.
"The money is all that stands between my mum and a nursing home."
The Carers Association say the 161,000 carers around the country operate as an "invisible workforce" and are the only people to have to work for their social welfare. Yesterday, the 16 protesters at the Dail dressed in white paper coveralls to illustrate how they can easily fade into the background.