Call for unpaid carers to get proper recognition
SHERLOCK: GOVERNMENT CANT JUST ‘LOB ON A FIVER AND EXPECT EVERYTHING TO BE OK’
EAST Cork Labour TD Sean Sherlock has called on the government to put in place a system of equitable pay rates for carers after new figures revealed an increase in the number of people across Cork regularly providing more than 43 hours of unpaid help each week.
Figures compiled under Census 2016 and available on the Central Statistics Office (CSO) website, revealed that some 3,702 carers fell into the category last year – compared to 3,656 for Census 2011.
The figures showed that across County Cork carers provided a total of 593,225 hours of unpaid help per week, up from 576,242 in 2011.
Broken down for the north and mid- Cork region, the figures for towns with populations between 1,000 and 1,499 showed that some 300 people of both sexes provided more than 43 hours of free help each week, with 113 listed as being in Mallow.
The next highest number was in Fermoy (62) followed by Charleville (32), Macroom (25), Mitchelstown (30), Blarney (25) and Millstreet (13).
The figures showed that more than one-fifth of the total number of carers in the region provided in excess of 43 hours of unpaid help each week.
“These figures are concerning and yet they also show the innate decency of those who provide care and gives an indication of the impact this can have on their own lives,” said Deputy Sherlock.
He said that, because of the methodology used to compile the Census, these figures could not be disputed as anecdotal or simply heresay.
“What it does show is that these people are the backbone of social care within communities,” said Deputy Sherlock.
“In fact, these census figures provide us with a template to move forward and plan clearly in the area of carers and how they are recompensed for their dedication and time. The government must now plan better financially and not just lob a fiver onto payments and expect everything to be ok,” he added.
Census 2016 also revealed an increase in family carers, with some 23,682 people in Cork saying they provided regular unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health issue or disability. This represented an increase of 1,254 people (5.6%) from the previous Census five-years ago.
They provided a total of 773,883 hours of care per week, and increase of 16,929 hours from 2011, representing an average of 36.4 hours per week.
Nationally, the Census reported there were some 195,264 carers in Ireland, 3,800 of which are under the age of 15, representing 4.1% of the total population - up by 4.4% on the figure for 2011.
Combined, they provide more than 6.6 million of unpaid care each week – up 5.1% since 2011.