Family Carers Ireland is aiming to make 2017 the “Year of the Carer”.
In our first full year as an organisation since the merger between The Carers Association and Caring for Carers, we are hoping to increase awareness among the public of the issues dealt with by family carers and to ensure they are recognised, supported and empowered to care and to participate fully in Irish society.
We will be officially launching the Year of the Carer and our ‘Share the Care’ campaign on Monday, February 27th in Dublin. At the event to launch the campaign will be RTE radio and television personality and Irish Independent journalist Brendan O’Connor. Brendan’s daughter Mary has Down syndrome, and he has often spoken, and written openly and sensitively in his column, on the challenges many carers face in accessing supports and services for children with disabilities, particularly those with milder diagnoses.
Also present on the morning of the launch will be a number of family carers, including our Dublin Carer of the Year 2016 Liz Collins, mother of 13 year-old Claudia, who was born with a rare genetic skin disease called Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (more commonly known as “butterfly skin”), and LynnMarie Walsh, our Kildare Carer of the Year, with her daughter Jessica, who has Rett syndrome and for whom LynnMarie provides full-time care. Shirley Thornton, who cares for her elderly mother, will also be in attendance, and they will be joined by our Dublin Young Carer of the Year Úna Mc Nicholas.
Behind the ‘Share the Care’ campaign is the belief that caring should be a shared responsibility: between the person requiring care, the family carer and wider family, the state and other relevant agencies or actors such as service providers. The present reality is that family carers prop up the health system through their dedication, and are often expected to fill the gaps in resources in the system regardless of the cost to them – financially, socially, or in terms of their physical and mental health.
“Share the Care” also calls on family carers to self-identify as carers and seek support from their wider family, the state and society, as some carers can find it difficult to reach out and ask for help.
The Year of the Carer – “Share the Care” campaign will consist of a number of promoted, themed events and activities over the course of 2017.