A South Roscommon woman who has been caring for her daughter for over a decade has called on the Government to cease the means test for the carer’s allowance. She receives just €257 a week for providing 24-hour care to her daughter who has life long disabilities and health issues.
Drum lady Mary Moore, 67, who is a former recipient of the Roscommon Carer of the Year award, met with Minister for Disability Issues Finian McGrath at an event at St Hilda’s Special School Athlone last Friday morning.
She told him that for the past 14 years she has been providing 24-hour care to her daughter Martina, 43, but receives very little help from the state. Martina has significant health issues including hydrocephalus and autism. Mary and Martina are only allocated a few hours respite a month.
“I am minding her seven days a week from four in the morning to 12 at night and it is not easy going. We renovated the house for Martina, made a sensory room for her to make her comfortable and happy. We did it all ourselves. I told Minister McGrath what I want you to do is get rid of the means test,” she said, adding that she had been subject to the means test.
“I am 67 since April and I am in great health, thank God, and I am able to look after Martina, but this means test is a joke. The stress and strain it causes are terrible.” She said that Minister McGrath was very receptive and that he asked her to write to his office outlining her concerns. Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, who was also present, was making an appointment to meet Mary in the coming days.
After reaching pension age, Mary receives €257 a week from the carer’s allowance, but does not receive the pension itself. She is very concerned that the allowance could be reduced when her husband Willie becomes a pensioner.
“I told them my door is always open for any minister and councillor who wants to call out and meet us,” she said. “I know there are many more like me and I hope me speaking up will make politicians think about doing away with this means test.” Ministers McGrath’s and Moran’s offices were contacted for comment but none was received before going to print.