The members of both The Carers Association and Carer for Carers voted at an EGM on 7th February 2015 to merge both organisations based on the principles outlined in the Merger Agreement.
The formation of Family Carers Ireland represents a very significant and positive milestone for Ireland’s approximately 200,000 family carers.
The Carers Association and Caring for Carers Ireland have come together to form one stronger, dedicated, carer-centred organisation, stronger than the sum of its parts. The merged organisation, Family Carers Ireland, is sustainable and in a better position to support, lobby for and advocate on behalf of Ireland’s family carers.
That is why, at Extraordinary General Meetings held on 7th February 2015, members of both organisations voted by an overwhelming majority to merge and form Family Carers Ireland. On 13th January 2016, the new, unified organisation was launched.
Both organisations were founded over 25 years ago – Caring for Carers Ireland in County Clare and The Carers Association in Dublin. While they have a lot in common, including being registered charitable companies for family carers; providing supports, services and training; and involvement in research and policy development, there are some differences. Caring for Carers Ireland has a strong focus on clinical care (i.e., nurse-led care) and also provides an annual respite weekend for family carers. The Carers Association focuses heavily on social care and provides a dedicated National Free Phone Care Line and legal /mediation supports for family carers. The merger allows for the pooling of best practice and experience to create one stronger, national voice for family carers based on a shared vision for the future. With each organisation offering services and supports in different parts of Ireland, the merger ensures the benefits and services of both organisations are available for family carers across the whole country.
Following discussions with family carers around the country our new name and new logo were developed. Family Carers Ireland has family carers at the heart of all it does, and this is represented both in our new name and in the logo which shows hands cradling a heart. It also symbolises the coming together of the two organisations. Our mission is expressed in the tagline ‘Fairness for Carers’ which speaks to the reality that family carers do not receive sufficient supports to carry out their roles with dignity and in safety. This tagline also indicates that Family Carers Ireland will dedicate itself to campaigning and lobbying to bring greater fairness for family carers.
The merged organisation will continue to provide existing services offered by both Caring for Carers Ireland and The Carers Association and will strive to develop new support based on family carers needs. These include training, support services, home care support, respite weekend breaks, nurse-led clinics, a dedicated helpline for family carers and assistance with legal/mediation services. The new organisation will be “owned” by local carer groups, and looks forward to working with and supporting all family carers across Ireland for many years to come!