Home > Joint Committee on Health and Children debate: Health issues for carers: discussion with Carers Association.

[Oireachtas] Joint Committee on Health and Children debate: Health issues for carers: discussion with Carers Association. (15 Jun 2010)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/joint_...

Mr. Enda Egan: I thank the committee for having us today during national carers’ week. This is a great opportunity for us to come here on behalf of family carers to voice the main issues that affect carers regarding health issues.

The members have the document and I shall go very quickly through the first section or introduction. Most members will be very much aware of the role of family carers and the kinds of statistics that sit behind it so I shall run though this briefly. There are about 160,000 family carers in Ireland, according to the last census. As everybody will know, family carers provide very valuable work looking after loved ones in their own homes. By and large, a carer does not make a choice to provide care. An actual incident happens to a loved one, to a husband, wife, child with special needs or a person who gets a terminal illness. Somebody in the family has to make a decision to stay at home and provide that care. Obviously, this saves the State huge sums of money.

There are about 40,000 full-time carers in Ireland, people who are doing this job around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are not in a position to leave unless somebody else comes in to fill in for them because of the level of care required by the person who is being cared for. According to the 2006 census there are more than 90,000 people who provide care and work in paid employment. Some 14,000 of those work full-time as well as providing more than 43 hours of care per week. That is an horrendous load to have on one person. Statistics wise, there are just over 5,000 young carers in Ireland but I would not know whether these are aged between 15 and 19 years. The statistics from the 2006 census did not allow us to pick up how many carers there are below the age of 15. The new census to take place in 2011 will be able to pick that up, which is a strong development.

[For the full debate, click on this link to the Oireachtas website]

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