Tuesday 20 March 2018

Sam (14) makes plea to help his brother and sister

Young Carer of the Year Sam Norris with his mother Antoinette.
Young Carer of the Year Sam Norris with his mother Antoinette.
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

SAM Norris (14) wakes up at 7.30am every day to help care for his brother and sister, who both have disabilities.

The schoolboy, from Finglas in Dublin, was voted Carer of the Year, together with his sister Amanda (19).

They help their mother Antoinette care for their sister, Demi (15), who has Cohen's syndrome -- a rare genetic disorder affecting motor skills, mental development and behaviour -- as well as younger brother Adam (6), who is autistic.

"I barely get time to finish my own breakfast before school," Sam said shyly.

Yesterday, he joined his mother to press the Government not to cut services for those with disabilities.

Antoinette broke down in tears as she addressed a Dail committee and urged the authorities to respect the work done by the 187,112 carers around the country.

She told how she has been waiting years for the funding to fit a downstairs bathroom for Demi, who is unable to use the stairs.

She applied more than 10 years ago in Limerick, but two years ago they moved to Dublin and Antoinette was told she must reapply for the House Adaptation Grant.

"I always find the good in everything but I can't find a reason why our children have to wait so long for services," said Antoinette.

She is worried about cuts in the child benefit. "Apart from that, all I get is the €287 in lone parent and €158 in half-rate carers' allowance," said Antoinette.

Irish Independent

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