The European Parliament Carers Interest Group recently held a meeting to discuss the European Commission's Social Investment Package. This strategy aims to improve how EU Member States use their social budgets, and Carers must be recognised as a key player in this process.

I co-founded the Interest Group in 2007 together with MEP Kathy Sinnott, with the aim of ensuring that policy development at an EU level takes into consideration the issues faced by Carers, and to ensure that future policy initiatives addresses their needs.

The Carers Interest Group with the support of Eurocarers  holds regular meetings with MEPs, European Commission Officials, Member State Representatives and relevant NGOs and stakeholders to discuss proposals from the European Commission and their impact on carers. 

This work is vital, because Carers are the glue which holds Irish and European society together. Their work and commitment is vital to maintaining our care system and in allowing those who wish to remain living in their own homes to do so.

Without family carers, the healthcare system would simply collapse and the social welfare system would prove totally inadequate. It is all too easily forgotten that Carers save the state hundreds of millions per annum. The statistics for the total value of Caring in Ireland in the 2006 Census was estimated to be €2.5 billion and this figure today should be considerably greater. Ireland’s Carers constitute a band of dedicated people whose efforts on the frontline deserve considerably greater support from Government.


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