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Cathal Crowe, T.D., cuts the tape, flanked by John Dunne, CEO Family Carers Ireland, at the official launch of the new Family Carers Ireland Centre in Ennis. Photograph by John Kelly

Family Carers Ireland opens new Clare Support Centre


FAMILY Carers Ireland’s new Clare Support Centre on the Gort Road in Ennis has been officially opened offering a boost to carers in the county.

The centre, located within Block B of the Clare Technology Park, will offer services to fam­ily carers across Clare including information and advocacy regarding their rights and entitlements; training and workshops; support in accessing respite; group meetings and social events to help combat isolation; advice on care planning and crisis support.

The centre was officially launched on Monday by Clare Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe.

Through its national network of carer support centres and National Freephone Careline 1800 24 07 24, Family Carers Ireland supports the 500,000+ people in Ireland who provide care for loved ones such as children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental ill-health, or addiction.

David O’Connor, Family Carers Ireland Carer Supports Manager in Clare said, “We’re delighted to open our new centre which will provide vital support to local family carers.

“We look forward to welcoming people from right across the region as we begin to resume our face-to-face activities including our peer support groups which allow family carers connect with others who understand their role. Family Carers Ireland firmly believes that no one should have to care alone which is why creating this sense of community is so important.”

Opening the new centre, Cathal Crowe TD said, “This is a matter that is close to my heart. I see and hear about the hard work of family carers week in, week out through my work and I can say sincerely and unequivocally that we are indebted to family carers across Ireland who really are the hidden frontline of our country.

“It’s important that we as a society recognise the work they do, day-in, day-out, in proving care for their loves ones and the invaluable support they provide to our healthcare system. I am delighted to open this new centre which will be a vital support to family carers across Clare.”

Meanwhile Family Carers Ireland has made an urgent appeal to the public to get behind its national fundraising drive ‘Paws for a Cause’ to support family carers in crisis. With the rising cost of living hitting family carers disproportionately harder, the charity is seeing unprecedented numbers seeking help.

People are being asked to walk or run 24km during National Carers Week until this Sunday June 19 to raise vital funds for struggling family carers. To register or donate, simply visit www.familycarers.ie.

“Our national Crisis Fund provides a vital lifeline to families by providing emergency respite, counselling and emotional support as well as helping to purchase practical support items including hoists and wheelchairs and in especially difficult cases, puts food on tables.

“Many family carers face financial hardship and a constant battle to access essential services and supports and have simply nowhere else left to turn,” said Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy, Family Carers Ireland.

“No one should have to care alone, but the reality is that we need donations to continue to provide practical support to so many family carers. Demand for our services has never been higher as family carers continue to experience barriers in accessing vital supports and services.

“Many services remain curtailed as a result of Covid-19, vulnerable people continue to shield from the virus and the chronic pressures on our healthcare system are acutely felt by family carers.

“In 2021, our National Freephone Careline team spoke to almost 4,200 family carers seeking support and information while our network of Carer Support Centres had nearly 86,000 unique engagements with family carers. On top of this, we delivered approximately 2,300 hours of counselling to family carers and had almost 2,900 people attending free courses delivered by Family Carers Ireland.

“It is so important to remember that most of us will either provide care or receive care at some point in our lives. We know how important it is to get the right support at the right time.

“You just can’t do it by yourself and that is where Family Carers Ireland comes in. We really need the public’s help to carry on our work and reach the hundreds of thousands of family carers who are cut off and isolated. Please give what you can.”

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