[Sinn Fein]

1st May 2002

Carers must be supported

Dublin City Councillor and Sinn Fein candidate for Dublin Central Nicky Kehoe has said that his party is committed to ensuring that carers are giving the support that they need. Speaking from his constituency office in the North Strand this morning Cllr. Kehoe said:

``I want to commend the Carers Association for providing a loud and strong voice for the tens of thousands of full-time and many more part-time carers . They have succeeded in having this issue placed higher on the political agenda than ever before.

``Sinn Fein believes that a key principle is that Carers must be recognised for the work that they do- work that saves the State incalculable amounts of money.

``My party is of the firm opinion that we have a responsibility that carers must be cares for. The work that these people do is invaluable and represents all that is good about the human spirit.

``Following this election Sinn Fein will fight to ensure that the Social Welfare system will be modified to ensure that recognition for benefits is given to those who work in the home. We are also committed to the abolition of the Means Test for full-time carers.

``We are also calling for the replacement of the present Carers' Allowance with an expanded payment scheme. This will recognise the value of carers' work unlike the present allowance, which is treated as an income support payment only.

``Carers are too important to Irish society for governments to get away with treating them as they are doing at present.''

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