A DISTRAUGHT mother has told The Clare People that she cried when she heard the respite grant cuts announced in last week’s budget.
Such were the strong feelings of parents and carers within Clare that an impromtu protest march against the cuts took place on Friday. The march had its origins on a facebook page set up to air concerns about the repsite cuts. Among the 40 to 50 people that took part in the protest were parents of young children with disabilities, older parents of adults with special needs and full-time carers of the elderly.
Many more Clare carers were unable to attend the protest as the people they care for are house-bound and therefore could not come to Ennis. The latest census figures indicate there are 5,315 carers in Clare providing unpaid assistance to others.
Young mother Niamh Daly who spends every hour of every day caring for her three-year-old daughter with special needs was brought to tears by the announcement that the respite grant would be cut by €325 to €1,375 for the year.
This money was not used for the purpose of respite in her home, but to pay to replace essential therapies already cut by the government.
Little Chantelle was diagnosed with autism nine months ago. At the time, Niamh was told she would be sent on a course to teach her how to help her daughter with speech and language, but no speech and language therapist or occupational therapist would be provided directly to the toddler.
“If they keep cutting, I will just have to sit home with my child all day,” she said.

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Claire Gallagher is a multi-award winning journalist with more than 15 years experience in media. The Galwegan began her career in radio working in news and current affairs. Having spent a year on the dark side – political PR and Spin – she returned to journalism and has since then worked mainly in print – regional and national – while continuing to work with the broadcast media. She has been with the Clare People since its foundation in 2005. She was awarded “Young Irish Medical Journalist of the Year” in June 2008 while working with the paper. Twitter @galocon Facebook ClaireGallagherClarePeople

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