independent

Friday 25 July 2014

Ex-mayor will 'stand and fight' for wife over carers' cuts

PLEDGE FROM EX-MAYOR OVER CARERS' CUTS

HUBERT MURPHY

Published 19/12/2012|18:39

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A FORMER mayor of Drogheda has been left devastated by budget cuts to carers.

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Malachy Godfrey, a four-time mayor, gave up his political career to look after his wife, Ann, and to help her with her battle with MS.

In doing so he became her carer, but the decision to cut funding has had a huge impact on the family. He has joined many recent protests and says the stories he has heard are truly shocking.

' There are people living in one room with a fire because they can't afford to heat their homes. That's not right,' the Yellowbatter native said. THE HORRIFIC stories of suffering endured by some carers has inspired a former mayor of Drogheda to help lead the fight against 'devastating' cuts in the Budget.

Malachy Godfrey can identify with them wholeheartedly, as he is also a carer for his wife, Ann, who suffers from MS.

He has vowed to lobby 'anyone who will listen' in a bid to get the cuts reversed.

Malachy, a four-times mayor, gave up his political career to look after his wife, Ann, in her battle with MS.

In doing so he became her carer, but the decision to cut funding has had a huge impact on the family.

He has joined many of the protests in recent weeks and the stories he has heard are truly shocking.

' There are people living in one room with a fire because they can't afford to heat their homes. That's not right,' the Yellowbatter native stated.

'It is a case of cutting the most vulnerable in society, people who regard their family as priority in their lives. I will fight this on Ann's behalf.'

Some have said that, with the support of their ill relatives, they'll abandon them in wheelchairs in the A&E Departments in local hospitals and say they just cannot cope.

' That is how desperate some people are at the moment. They are being pushed into a corner, they have to do something,' he said.

A long-time member of the retired servicemens and women's association ONE, Malachy can see the situation from both sides of the public and political fence.

'When I was in politics the one thing I always tried to do was to be fair and protect the people that needed help. Yes, I made hard decisions in those 15 years, but being fair is vital in it all.'

He has lobbied many of the TDs, but seemingly to no avail.

'I know of one women in a wheelchair who looks after her wheelchair bound mother. That is so sad.'

Malachy is proud of his work with the Irish Wheelchair Association down the years, and knows many members are worried about what will come next year if the latest cuts are just accepted.

' There is a 19 per cent cut in the respite grant which many people simply spend on bills anyway, rather than respite. In my case medication is not covered on a medical card, neither is Vitimin D or Cod Liver Oil which is all important for MS sufferers.'

He admits the pressure is intense and so many people are stressed out.

'We paid the Household Charge because we wanted to do the right thing. But this is not the right thing.'

He said the battle for carers is now just beginning. ' They have admitted they got things wrong in the past. They must do it again now.'

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