Teachta Browne said:
“I was recently contacted by a Co Tipperary family whose son who has certain needs that require the
assistance of particular medical devices and machines.
“Because of the inadequate level of funding that carers receive, that family has a pay-as-you-go
electricity meter installed, in order to keep an eye on their electricity usage, and to avoid being hit
with unexpectedly large bills.
“However, over recent months they have noticed that the amount of money that it is costing to run
these devices has increased significantly.
“The electricity allowance they receive goes nowhere near covering the costs, while the overdue
electricity contribution from the state will have no long-term impact for them.
“For families such as these the costs of meeting these medical needs are hidden from the state.
They are hidden costs which add to the unrecognised costs of being a family carer.
“On top of the domestic demands that this family and so many others are under, are the increasing
travel costs of attending important hospital appointments. The modest changes to excise duty on
petrol and diesel won’t make much of a difference to this.
Indeed, earlier in the week I highlighted in the Dáil how the government’s cuts to excise duty were
so meagre that any benefit would be cancelled out the following morning. And I was proved right.
“Our family carers save the State billions of euro a year and were crucial in limiting the number of
hospitalisations during the pandemic.
“They must be recognised for their contribution – both to their families and to the State.
“The work they carry out and the increasing costs involved must be appreciated by additional
supports in light of the current challenges the world is facing.
“There is a need for the individual circumstances of families as these to be taken into account and
supported on an individual basis. A one-size-fits-all approach just isn’t working.”