The recent budget has come as a sledgehammer blow to those in receipt of the Respite Care Grant. The €325 reduction which sees the annual payment cut from €1,700 to €1,375, has understandably emerged as the most contentious of the budget.
The grant has been a vital source of income for the 77,000 carers in Ireland who are in receipt of the once off annual payment and the excuses offered by Government Ministers since the cut was announced are as callous and insensitive as the cut itself.
What makes it all the more unpallatable is the fact that these carers, all 77,000 of them, through their unselfishness in how they care for their loved ones, save the state over €4 billion every year. While we all understand that savings must be made, the Government should do the right thing by the carers and reverse this unwarranted cut or face the strong possibility of an uncooperative stance from the carers themselves.
Using Budget day as the buffer, Alan Shatter continued with his ongoing obliteration of Grada barracks as he announced his plans to close another 100 Garda Stations across the country. The safety and security infrastructure that has taken generations to build up is being wiped out and is causing genuine anxiety up and down the country. But the strategists claim to know best, choosing to turn a blind eye to the fact that garda station have played a central role in rural communities since the foundation of the State.
Leaving the doom and gloom aside for a moment, let us congratulate the hurlers of Kildorrery who created history on Sunday afternoon in Mallow. They can be truly proud of their achievements as they prepare for the next round – a meeting with Leinster champions, Thomastown in January!