Louth MEP Colm Markey paid tribute to family carers during a national award ceremony for the 2021 and 2020 EU Citizen’s Prize.
Markey joined his colleague, Dublin MEP Frances Fitzgerald, to formally present last year’s accolade to Family Carers Ireland. Other winners included Women’s Aid and The Irish Girl Guides.
Speaking at the event at the Goethe-Institut Ireland on Friday November 19th, the Fine Gael MEP said carers have been the hidden heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It can be very lonely sometimes. People are left with the responsibility of looking after a loved one and sometimes they don’t have the structures there to support them. During COVID, people gave incredible commitments to help those who were vulnerable and because of that, they essentially had to go into a bubble themselves. It was yet another burden but they were more than willing to do it. They are unsung heroes in so many ways”, he said.
Markey said the public healthcare system would have come under enormous pressure had it not been for family carers.
He concluded, “If those people weren’t there to look after their loved ones, where would the state be and where would the responsibility be within the health service to look after them? It quite simply would not cope. The role that’s played is never appreciated enough and it’s so important that the structures are in place to support individual carers”.