Budget ‘positive’ for carers: ‘There is at least some recognition of the challenges we face’

Income disregard increase to €450 for single people and €900 for couples will be welcomed

Tracy Carroll lives near Navan, Co Meath, with her husband John, her son Noah (9), who has ADHD and daughter Willow (6) who has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

In addition to being a carer for her two young children, she has advocated for parents who find themselves in circumstances where they struggle to cope with the financial and other challenges presented by balancing caring, work and other responsibilities.

“Overall, I thought it was positive,” she says of Tuesday’s budget. “I think there is at least some recognition in there of carers and the challenges they face.

“In measures like the increased income disregard, there was some evidence that the Government listened to some of the arguments we made. We were looking for €500 for single people and €1,000 for couples and what we got €450 and €900 so that’s not bad, it will help quite a few people.


“The €400 once-off payment for carers before Christmas is very welcome as are the energy grants. The cost of heating the home is a big factor for us with Willow.

“There are increases to the regular carer’s allowance, to child benefit and the domiciliary care allowance, all of which are good to see.

“I suppose the thing I’m most pleased about, though, is the investment in education, in the provision of additional special needs assistants and special education teachers.

“Willow has very complex needs but since she had the opportunity to start attending school with her peers, she has come on in leaps and bounds.

“She needs a lot of supports and there is more to be done on that front but these investments are definitely a step in the right direction.

“Overall, it’s progress but not enough, of course. The average extra costs to a household where a family member has a disability is €240 a week so a lot of families were suffering long before the cost-of-living crisis.

“I’m pleased the budget has gone some way towards addressing some of the issue but it all starts again tomorrow with regard to next year.”

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times