Call for un­paid car­ers to get proper recog­ni­tion


The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE Deputy Sean Sher­lock

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.

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