Family Carers Ireland publishes Programme for Government Progress Scorecard

Posted on Thursday 07 December 2023


Pictured at the launch of the Family Carer Scorecard 2023 are Catherine Cox (left), Head of Communications and Policy, Family Carers Ireland with family carers (from right) Tracy Carroll and her children Willow (7) and Noah (9) for whom she cares; Sinead Tighe who cares for her son Daniel (16) and Lynsey O'Donovan who cares for her son Jack (20). PHOTO: Mark Stedman

Thursday, 7th December 2023: Family Carers Ireland has published a new report which scores the progress made by Government on delivering on commitments to family carers contained in the Programme for Government.  

The Family Carer Scorecard 2023 finds that since taking office, the coalition has regrettably failed to fully deliver on any of its commitments, severely impacting the lives of family carers across the country. However, Government has received three scores indicating ‘Good Progress’, two of which relate to the Department of Social Protection, namely the introduction of the new Long-Term Carers Contribution scheme on January 1st for pension contributions and increases to the income disregards for Carer’s Allowance announced in Budget 2022 and Budget 2024.

Assessed by family carers from across Ireland, the scorecard rates Government’s progress in implementing the 18 commitments contained in the Programme for Government that have the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of family carers and those for whom they care. The findings highlight the concerning lack of progress in some areas and even regression in crucial areas that directly affect family carers.

Of the 18 Programme for Government commitments voted on by family carers:

  • 4 received a score of ‘Regressive’
  • 6 received a score of ‘No Progress’
  • 5 received a score of ‘Limited Progress’
  • 3 received a score of ‘Good Progress’
  • 0 received a score of ‘Commitment Achieved’.

While the scorecard recognises some important and positive developments, unfortunately these gains are eclipsed by setbacks and insufficient progress in relation to critical health areas. Of particular concern are regressive steps in areas such as home support, assessment of need waiting times and the availability of vital respite and disability day services.

Several commitments saw no progress, including commitments to extend free GP care to those in receipt of the Carer's Support Grant, to review and update of the National Carers' Strategy, and extend the NTPF to ensure timely assessment for psychological services and to ensure an appropriate mix of housing options for older people and disabled people.

The report also highlights limited progress regarding the Government's commitment to deliver the ‘Carers Guarantee’, designed to eliminate the postcode lottery in carers access to supports and services across the country, with funding falling far short of what is required.

Speaking at the launch, Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy at Family Carers Ireland, emphasised that while the Programme for Government contains clear, measurable goals aimed at enhancing the lives of family carers and their loved ones, the coalition has failed to fully deliver on any of the 18 commitments assessed.

"The Government's failure to make substantive progress on many commitments vital to family carers is deeply disappointing. These commitments were not mere promises, but tangible actions that could significantly improve the lives of family carers and their loved ones.

“With limited progress in some areas, no progress in others and even regression in critical areas, it's evident that urgent and comprehensive action is necessary to address the unmet needs of family carers and those for whom they care.

“Time is running out for this government to fulfil its commitments to family carers. With each passing day, the failure to address the needs of family carers and their loved ones intensifies the challenges they face. In the week that Government announced a referendum to take place on March 8th 2024, which seeks to recognise and value care in the home, we urge them to redouble their efforts by taking immediate action to deliver the commitments they have made to family carers.”

Family Carer Scorecard 2023