'They're taking more and more from people who are getting less and less'
HARRIET Conlon has been a full-time carer for the last 10 years for her parents – Jenny (86) and her late father Michael (91) who passed away in July.
She gets the carer's allowance (€206 a week) and her mother currently receives 21 hours of home help a week. Around 14 hours are used to help get her mother out of bed and dressed in the morning and back in bed in the evening in the home they share in Rathnew, Co Wicklow.
"I've saved the Government loads of money over the last 10 years looking after two people," Harriet said.
"We used to get respite but the 21 respite beds in St Coleman's Hospital in Rathdrum were closed down this year."
The rise in prescriptions from 50c per item to €1.50 will also impact on the household's income.
"My mother takes nine items of medication a day – so it will be €1.50 per prescription item," she said.
"They started off taking 50c. They are taking more and more from people who are getting less and less. I can't go out and get a part-time job as I have to look after my mother."
Harriet said they would also be hard hit by the 19pc cut in the annual respite care grant to €1,375.
Another change that will effect them is the reductions in the telephone allowance, and the electricity/gas allowance as part of their household benefits package.
"It means that I'm going to have to keep the heating off for a lot longer than I would like to. We will have to sit with blankets over us, like lots of people do. An elderly person or someone who is sick needs the heat," she said.
"The telephone that we have is the only contact with the outside world. I haven't socialised in years. They are hitting us in every way. The rises in car tax and everything affects us.
"It is like Robin Hood, except they are taking from the needy and giving it to the greedy."
Irish Independent Supplement