It's time to give the carers some real respite
Published 15/10/2015 | 00:00
While the Government's acknowledgement of the need to support carers by restoring the Respite Care Grant to €1,700 in the Budget is welcome, I'm very disappointed that it failed to fix the problem with the grant. It must be made a pro-rata payment.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that the Respite Care Grant is paid to eligible carers caring for someone on one particular day of the year, generally the first Thursday of June. If the person being cared for enters long-term nursing-home care or passes away before this date, their carer receives nothing, even if they've provided care over the previous 12 months, right up to the day before this arbitrary date.
And as anyone who has cared for a loved one up to an admission to nursing-home care necessitated by progressive illness or a medical event or up to their death can attest, this period is one of the toughest times in the carer journey, the time when the Respite Care Grant is most needed.
By not making the Respite Care Grant a pro-rata payment in Budget 2016, the Government has continued to leave the most vulnerable carers deprived of much-needed respite care support and exposed them to the indignity of watching an arbitrary calendar date call the shots. It's not good enough. For the sake of all those carers, please make the Respite Care Grant a pro-rata payment now.
Bantry, Co Cork
Paternity leave problem
How many fathers do you think want paternity leave? My husband couldn't wait to go to work the night I returned from hospital with our first-born. He thought breast-feeding was a great thing as he didn't have to do night feeds.
Is paternity leave transferable? Half a million children come from one-parent families. A quarter of a million families are headed by a lone parent. Two-fifths of lone parents are headed by a single mother. Can the leave be given to a person who really cares?
Lismore, Co Waterford
No better off
The Labour Party is an absolute disgrace and for me represents a wasted vote! They have become more Fine Gael than Fine Gael themselves.
A few crumbs from the table will not buy my vote - €400 "better off" but we still have Local Property Tax, water tax and a host of policies that benefit those in the top echelons.
Leave it to the experts
Now that the Budget speeches are over, we can allow the number crunchers the time to break it all down. Those of us who left school at 16 to work, paid our taxes and built this country had little time for analyses or detailed accounts.
So we have little understanding on how to decipher the smokescreen of "giving with one hand and taking with the other", that Budget day represents. We'll leave that to the experts.
From a layman's point of view, it appears that most groups require more money, our health system is at breaking point and our elderly are living in fear in their own homes. We have people with no homes living in hotel accommodation costing the State millions. They demand social housing, but continue to produce children while they wait, exposing those newborns to the very circumstances that they find so appalling.
Our Navy is on the high seas saving thousands but the Army is confined to barracks while people are dying on our streets. The first pay packet our school leavers receive is, unfortunately, from the welfare system while the older, more educated ones have all emigrated.
I would have thought these are problems with no easy fix but our politicians see it differently and apparently now, just before an election, they tell us we have the money for almost everything. It may be borrowed but we have it.
Yes, I said, once again the much-maligned Irish politician has come through, how could I have doubted? I thought we were "shagged" and felt even more stupid when Finance Minister Michael Noonan stood up and with one wave of his mighty hand, told us he could sort out all our problems, with just 50 cent on a packet of "fags".
That's brilliant! Now, that's why I leave it to the experts!
The Devil we know
We hear it said that the greatest trick the Devil ever played was convincing the world he didn't exist.
If the political events of the past few months and the weekend's heart-wrenching violence tell us anything, it's that the same is true of the IRA.
Work for disabled people
I am a young person with a learning disability. The thing I want most in the whole world is a job. I want to feel grown-up and independent. I want to feel the same as everyone else. I want to help others and work as part of a team. I like working with people. I am a helpful person.
I already have a disability allowance so I don't need to earn a lot of money. I don't even have to work every day. I know other people with a disability who have jobs and this makes me feel like I am not wanted. I feel this is so unfair.
If you are reading this maybe you can help me and others like me. When a TD comes to your door in the weeks ahead, you can talk to them about work for people with disabilities. If you own a business you might think about making space for a person with a disability.
Or you could just start talking about this problem … because it is a problem.
I don't want to keep feeling like this. I know I can work hard if I was given a chance. I want to make a difference like everyone else. I know there are many other people who feel this way.
Name and address with Editor
Congratulations to Fr Joseph Okere, the Longford-based priest, for speaking so clearly on the issue of so-called same-sex marriage. It's an absolute scandal that far from supporting this brave priest, his local bishop has seen fit to criticise him.
Of course, the easy and comfortable option in these circumstances is to go with the populist "mob" and capitulate. But it's certainly not indicative of courage and leadership.
On the other hand, Fr Okere shows that something of the spirit of St Thomas More is alive and well in Longford.
Navan, Co Meath