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22 May 2022

Dundalk TD calls on Government to tackle carers shortage

Dundalk TD calls on Government to tackle carers shortage

Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú

Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Ruairí Ó Murchú has called on the government to act urgently to ensure carers are available for people who need home support, after new figures revealed shocking numbers of people have been left without much-needed carers.

Figures released to Sinn Féin by the HSE, have revealed that almost 5,000 people are waiting for a carer to be allocated to them, despite being approved.

Of these, 554 are living in CHO8, the HSE community care area which covers Louth.

Deputy Ó Murchú said: “A total of 554 people have been approved for a carer in CHO8, which includes Louth, but despite this have not been allocated a carer due to severe shortages.

“This is unacceptable. Sinn Féin has been warning for many years now of a looming crisis within the homecare system, as too many people who require homecare aren’t getting the hours that they need.

“This crisis has spiralled during the pandemic, yet the government has consistently failed to properly plan and put contingencies in place.

The Dundalk TD said he had raised the issue a number of times in Leinster House with Minister Mary Butler, most recently last month.

While Minister Butler told him on that occasion that she has put in place a cross-departmental strategic workforce advisory committee, which has held its first meeting, Deputy Ó Murchú says “far more needs to be done’.

According to Deputy Ó Murchú, there are extreme difficulties in north Louth in getting carers at the weekend.

He said: “I know that a lot of things are being considered. We must look at pay scales and any incentivisation we can provide.

“We know of the difficulties of people, some of whom were contracted staff, who would state that they were not going to get paid expenses for travel. Every obstacle possible was being put in their way.

“And we all know that the big issue is weekend support. Obviously, we need to look at the issue of the rates of pay.”

He said he has a meeting scheduled later this week with Home and Community Care Ireland, the representative body of private home care providers and says he will continue to “engage with all stakeholders in order to find solutions to this crisis which is affecting so many families”.

It is, he said, “a major issue” for him and one which he will continue to raise with Minister Butler in Leinster House.

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