17 May 2022

Family carers must receive the Frontline Bonus, Kildare TD insists

Family carers must receive the Frontline Bonus, Kildare TD insists

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One Kildare TD has insisted that family carers must receive the Frontline Bonus.

Sinn Féin's (SF) Réada Cronin TD has criticised the government for its "callousness" towards family carers in excluding them the frontline bonus for health workers.

Cronin said: "They are the frontline and for the people they care for, too often, they are the only line."

"As the paltry day-services they depend on were cancelled, our family carers were effectively locked in and locked away from society, while dealing with the hugely complex needs, often involving nursing needs, of the people they love and care for.

"They have worked for and deserve every cent of the 1,000 euro (and) it doesn’t even do them justice: it should be in their pocket asap, no ifs, no buts," she added.

She then went on to say that family carers in North Kildare are worn out: "We hear them on the radio, see them in the papers; wiped out, (and) hanging by a thread.

"(They are) too often battling the state for any bit of help at all.

"They do vital work all the time, but during the pandemic they had to do everything, often while isolating themselves and with no priority for PPE or the vaccine.

"They’re never priorities like they should be, given the billions they save the state in care costs every year."

She then asked: "HSE can lose millions on unusable equipment in the pandemic, but men and women who are losing their own health and are injuring themselves by looking after their loved ones, can’t be given 1,000 euro though they are on the frontline?

"What planet are we on? What kind of priorities and choices are these for the state?

“Family Carers have to fight for respite and that’s when they can get it all.... they don’t get public holidays, their work is 24/7/365 so they won’t even benefit from the public holiday this year."

Cronin added that SF have "made a clear commitment to our Carers in our policy". 

"I’m calling on Minister McGrath to do the decent thing by them, to do right by them and to include them in the frontline bonus," she concluded.

Her comments have been echoed by her colleague Patricia Ryan TD, who similarly called on the govt to reconsider its decision.

"Family carers are the forgotten frontline who protect our health service on an ongoing basis by
providing care to loved ones," she explained.

"This important care saves the state billions of Euro every year," Ryan added.

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