Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Social Welfare Payments

3:20 pm

Photo of Martin BrowneMartin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

As I predicted, the Minister of State rattled off figures from the budget and mentioned some of the other measures the Government has brought in, but carers have told me, and I have no doubt they have told him too, that the measures are not enough for them. I told him about the video I received. That family's electricity bill has jumped from €197 to €349 in five months, so a once-off €200 payment will make but a slight difference for them for one month. On top of the domestic demands they face, they have the travel costs associated with attending appointments for young Alex.

This week, travelling to Temple Street, the parents put €70 of fuel in the car, which only half-filled the tank. Accommodation and food also had to be paid for. They ask how they are expected to live and call on the Departments of Social Protection and Health to increase supports for carers who are in such circumstances. The family also pointed out that the Government is pushing for electric cars. There is no point in that if there are no electric wheelchair adaptable cars.

Families who are looking after ill loved ones are among the family carers who have kept much of the pressure off the hospitals, especially during the pandemic. For decades, they have provided a service that saves the Government an estimated €20 billion each year. I am asking for some compassion and for someone to review the situation of Alex's family and others and give them an extra bit of help. That is all they are looking for. There are not many families in this position. Considering this family's electricity bill jumped from €197 to €349 in the space of a couple of months, the €200 payment will only help for a couple of weeks. After that, these families will be in severe trouble again.

I thank the Minister of State for taking my questions and for his time.


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