'End tax cut for wealthy to help carers' - Martin
It's time to re-think tax cuts for high earners and focus instead on improved services for vulnerable people like carers, Micheál Martin has said.
The Fianna Fáil leader cited a television documentary that highlighted a serious lack of respite services for people caring for disabled relatives.
He took issue with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's expressions of "respect and care" for carers.
Mr Martin cited an RTÉ 'Prime Time' documentary which showed the gruelling effect that caring for a vulnerable and totally dependent loved-one can have.
Mr Martin said that there is now a crisis in respite care provision which cannot even meet emergency situations.
"We simply cannot get respite care for people in dire circumstances," Mr Martin said.
The carers' situation was among a number of serious gaps in services for citizens, he added.
He said it was time to re-think tax cuts for high earners while these service problems continued.
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Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said people's safety was at risk due to the carer crisis.
He urged more investment to meet people's urgent needs.
Mr Varadkar said the Government had already increased facilities for carers and planned further improvements.
He argued that the last Fianna Fáil government had cut carers' funding.
Mr Varadkar defended his Government's record on carers.
"We as a society need to support family carers. We have restored the Carer's Support Grant, increased the Christmas bonus, and 10.5 million home help hours have been provided and 190,000 home care packages. Budget for disability has increased," he said.
Mr Varadkar said he was committed to more funding for carer services.