Forest shades are inspiration for new colour at Jerpoint Glass Studio

Although spring appears to be on the long finger this year, Jerpoint Glass Studio has not let the inclement weather conditions affect their brand new, spring-inspired collection of glass that has just become available this week.

The exceedingly talented team at Jerpoint have come up with a stunning new spring colour for their renowned glassware, entitled ‘forest’.

As the name would suggest the colour is inspired by the ‘the transformation in the trees from russet brown to lush green at this time of year, with bluebells in early spring and daffodils finally bounding forth signifying new beginnings.

The colours created include a mixture of speckled turquoise and green with a hint of citrus, which is applied by hand, in a band around each piece of glass individually.

Celebrating 35 years in business this year, Kathleen Leadbetter says, “We are fortunate to work in the heart of Kilkenny, with Mount Juliet on our doorstep and other woods such as Jenkinstown and Woodstock Gardens nearby. Each year, we witness first-hand, the countryside burst into colour and it is this dramatic transformation that has inspired our latest offering.”

“’Forest’, is the perfect reflection of the coming of spring complete with its bluebells, daffodils and emerald foliage,” she says.

Kathleen and her husband Keith who together founded Jerpoint Glass are responsible for creating the unique blends of colour that have become synonymous with Jerpoint Glass over the years. Today, the whole family is involved in the business, which has become a household name for reasons such as the popularity of their use of colour and their quirky designs.

Having recently established a new online store, Jerpoint has travelled far beyond the realms of home and is now supplying glassware to customers as far away a USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand

The new ‘forest’ collection is expected to be a big hit with local and overseas customers alike with the warm spring – summer tones enticing a contemporary clientele.

The new colour is now currently available online at www.jerpointglass.com and also in studio at Jerpoint in Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny, The Design Centre, Kilkenny, the Kilkenny Shop on Nassau Street, Dublin, McElwee’s, Dongloe and Quinlans in Macroom, Co Cork.

Don’t let coeliac disease quell your appetite – learn to cook gluten free at Kitchen in The Castle

[18/02/14]With Ireland having one of the highest prevalence’s of coeliac disease in the world, gluten free cooking has become more popular than ever in Irish society.

If you are tired of dried-up, shop-bought, gluten free bread, cakes and treats then the Kitchen in the Castle cookery school is your recipe to a tastier future.

Chef and proprietor of the Kitchen In The Castle Cookery School, Edwina St Lawrence has herself recently been diagnosed as coeliac and gluten-intolerant, inspiring her to develop exciting new gluten-free cookery courses at Howth Castle. Her students learn about delicious gluten free cooking during a four week intensive course on cooking without wheat, barley or rye

“It’s only since I was diagnosed myself as a coeliac that I have come to understand the culinary difficulties that people with a gluten intolerance have to endure on a daily basis. The gluten free options in many shops and restaurants are dull and unappetising and do not entice coeliacs to eat out,” she says.

“Myself and my colleague Eleanor Martin who has been cooking gluten-free for years as members of her family are coeliac, have devised a selection of sumptuous, gluten free recipes that will tempt the taste-buds of gluten and non-gluten loving diners, enabling gluten-intolerant people to feed themselves and their families from the one pot, which is often not an option for coeliacs.”

Edwina and Eleanor offer clever, gluten free substitutes along with advice on which gluten free flours are best to use in bread and which mixes best replicate that just-baked spongy freshness of home baking.

The Kitchen In The Castle four-week gluten free cooking course aims to illustrate how coeliacs can overcome the difficulties of cooking without gluten, across a wide range of dishes.

“Here at the Kitchen in the Castle we don’t believe in compromising on taste and if you are cooking for a coeliac or simply want to follow the trend and go gluten free, we are here to give you all the tools to successfully cook gluten free,” says Edwina.

And in case this all sounds like hard work the Gluten-Free Cookery course includes a sit-down dinner and glass of wine at the end of each class.

‘Gluten Free Baking’ takes place on Thursday 20th February from 7pm to 9:45pm. Cost: €65

The ‘Gluten Free 4 Week Course’ takes place from Monday 10th March from 7pm -9:45pm. Cost €240. *Due to St. Patrick’s Day, there won’t be a class on Monday 17th March but will resume the following Monday 24th and the series will end on Monday 7th of April.

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Study finds carers of children with behavioural difficulties are at higher risk of depression – Carers Association

A recent report carried out by researchers at the Department of Psychology at the University of Limerick on carers raising children with developmental difficulties, has produced worrying results according to the Carers Association.

The report revealed that in carers of children with disorders such as autism, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, there was a 10% increased prevalence of clinical depression, compared to parents of typically developing children.

It was also revealed that some 15% of carers of children with disabilities who were surveyed as part of the 8, 500 children in the Growing Up in Ireland Survey, were classified as depressed but less than half of those were treated for their depression.

Stemming from this report and given the impact of caring on care-givers, experts have called on authorities to classify care-giving as a major public health concern.

Catherine Cox of the Carers Association supports this move and points out that carers are often so busy caring for others that they neglect their own physical and mental health.

“We would support the call to classify care-giving as a major public health concern as we are at the coal face on a daily basis and see first-hand the strain that our members are under. It is worrying but not surprising to note that while parents are suffering from depression many are not receiving the treatment that they require. This may be because of financial difficulties preventing them from attending a GP if they don’t have a medical card or simply because they feel guilty that they have to seek help as there is still stigma attached to mental health issues.

“These parents are constantly fighting for their childrens’ rights – from fighting for a diagnosis to fighting for early intervention, right through to primary and secondary school assistance. Once their child reaches 18 they have to fight for after-school services and day care centre support. One of the biggest and most worrying problems facing these parents is the lack of therapies available for their children such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language services. Many children are languishing on waiting lists for years, and those aged over 7 are at high risk of never receiving the supports. Is there any wonder that there is a higher rate of depression recorded in carers as their lives are a constant battle for services that they should be receiving automatically in many cases from the State,” says Ms Cox.

The report also found that the high rates of depression recorded in carers could be due to the need to control child behavioural problems in children with developmental difficulties with the health and well-being of the child also taking priority over the carers’ own. It was found that more problematic behaviours accounted for increased risk of depression.

“It is vital that interventions are found for the treatment of depression in these parents as evidence has shown that depressive symptoms may worsen over time. We have seen families recently losing home support for their children which is putting tremendous pressure and stress on already stressed parents and families. We point out also that if the carer’s health fails then the State will be faced with an even larger bill to look after both the carer and the person for whom they are caring. It is in everyone’s best interest to care for the carer and put in place systems that consider the carer’s mental and physical health needs as a priority,” says Ms Cox.

Family carers provide some 900,000 hours of care daily and save the State €4billion each year. Over 21% of family carers provide 43 hours of care per week. The Carers Association provides assistance and support to some 187,112 family carers across the country.

Chocolate Comfort with Neven Maguire & Flavoursome Fowl from Brian McDermott

Some chocolate comfort from ‘The Nations Favourite Food’ by Neven Maguire

www.nevenmaguire.com 

MacNean Chocolate Orange Truffles

This is on our Petits Fours section in the restaurant and we tend to change the flavour on a weekly basis, much to the delight of our customers. If you would like to experiment with different flavours, here is a selection that we serve in the restaurant. Try adding 2 tablespoons of Coole Swan Dairy Cream Liquer instead of the Cointreau or the same amount of Créme De Menthe also works well.

Makes about 35

You will need:

125ml (4 1/2fl oz) cream

finely grated rind of 1 orange

250g (9oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares (at least 70% cocoa solids)

125g (4 1/2oz) butter

4 tbsp Cointreau liqueur

For the coating:

225g (8oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares (at least 70% cocoa solids)

cocoa powder, for dusting

How to do it:

Place the cream and orange rind in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, then whisk in the chocolate and butter until smooth and melted. Stir in the Cointreau and transfer to a bowl. Leave to cool completely, whisking every 20 minutes so that the butter is evenly distributed. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill for 2–3 hours, until set firm, stirring occasionally to present a skin from forming.

When the mixture is cold and set, use a melon baller to scoop it into 1.75cm (3/4in) balls. Make sure to dip the melon baller in hot water to give the chocolate mixture a better shape. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper.

To make the coating, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Leave to cool a little, then dip the truffles in the melted chocolate and quickly roll in the cocoa powder. Place in the fridge to set.

To serve, arrange the truffles on a plate and hand around to guests while they are enjoying their coffee.

Neven’s Top Tip:

These truffles will keep well in the fridge for up to 1 week in an airtight container. They can also be frozen very successfully, but should always be left at room temperature to thaw out completely.

And … From Brian McDermott’s book ‘Reunite with Food’ – His Favourite Chicken Casserole

www.thenosaltchef.com

Chicken casseroles are delicious, easy, comforting and fabulous recipes to make ahead of time. This is a great meal to get people sitting together and chatting. I believe while we still all love roast chicken it is nice to have a change and this recipe does exactly that.  This is a very economical dish and will easily feed six people.

 Serves 4

You will need: 

1 Whole Chicken approx 1.5kg

50g Flour

2 Carrots

1 Onion

8 – 10 Mushrooms

2 Cloves Garlic crushed

400g Chopped Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Tomato Puree

Olive Oil

100 ml Chicken Stock

100ml  Red Wine

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 Sprigs of Thyme

Fresh parsley

 

How to do it:

 

Preheat oven to 160°C. Dip chicken cuts into flour. Slice the onion, carrot, mushroom. Heat the pan with oil. Add the floured pieces of chicken and sear well then transfer chicken to casserole dish.Season with black pepper.

In the pan in which chicken was fried, add the onion, garlic, carrot, thyme, mushroom, and fry for 1 minute then add red wine and allow to reduce by half.

Now add tomatoes and tomato puree followed by the chicken stock.  Pour sauce in between the chicken pieces and not over the chicken as you want the skin to stay crisp.

Place in preheated oven for approx 50 minutes @ 160°C. Once cooked remove chicken pieces and leave to rest. In the casserole dish add chopped parsley.Garnish with sprig of thyme. Serve either plated or family style.

BRIAN’S TOP TIP: Serve with roasted potatoes & Add other vegetables like green beans and celery.

 

 

Blog 31st Jan 2014

Great performance yesterday by Edwina St Lawrence from the Kitchen in the Castle cookery school. Some great healthy options that you can view on the TV3 website.

Time is always tight on these cookery slots, and there is a lot of assembly and a little cooking. Edwina had gone for roast salmon with puy lentils and herbs for her main course and it looked scrumptious presented on a magnificent platter made by Bridge Pottery from Burnhurch, Co Kilkenny.

Preparation is the key to these slots. Edwina had rehearsed with Kitchen in the Castle colleague Eleanor Martin and they arrived at the studio will all of the ingredients ready to go. Then over to floor manager Derek who was a great help in laying it all out correctly before presenter Anna Daly arrived for their friendly chat.

Thank you to all at Ireland AM

Watch it here
John M

The adverse effects of the Housing adaption grant and mobility grant cuts on the people of Carlow

With Catherine Cox – Communications Manager with the Carer’s Association

The recent announcement that there are to be further cuts to the Housing Adaptation Scheme and mobility grants for older people has put enormous pressure and stress on people who are caring for loved ones at home in inappropriate circumstances in Carlow.

There are many families waiting for long periods to hear whether they will receive funds to adapt their homes to the needs of their loved ones by installing vital facilities such as downstairs toilets or even simple aids such as handrails in the shower or bath or on steps which would ensure the safety of their dependents in their own homes.

The Carers Association represents some 187,112 family carers – some 2,156 that reside within County Carlow. Of these local carers, 500 are providing 24-hour care to their loved one in their homes, many of which require some form of adaptation in order for the care of their loved one to be continued on a long term basis.

The Carers Association has been constantly voicing its concerns about the administering of the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme through the local authorities, as to date there have been several cuts to the grants leaving local authorities with little or no budget to continue offering the scheme.

Last year the Carers Association contacted all 34 local authorities to establish the status of the Housing Adaptation Scheme as of April 2013. At that point in time, Carlow Local Authorities were only processing priority applications and no other standard applications were being considered. Research also highlighted that there were only 25 Housing Adaptation Grants approved in Carlow in 2012 in total.

The most recent announcement sets out new criteria for the eligibility of the grants now determining that many family carers are ineligible.

 

From now on applicants seeking the Housing Aid Grant for Older People must be over the age of 66 – where previously applicants needed to be 60 years of age. Also the income of all household members is to be considered in means assessment for grants – up until now only the income of the applicant and the spouse was assessed. Also under the Housing Adaptation and Housing Aid Schemes, households in the lowest income band with an income of €30,000 or less will only receive 95% of the costs and not 100% as was previously the case. The upper income limit to be eligible for both schemes has been reduced by €5,000 to €60,000 and finally applicants for grants must also prove they have paid their property tax.

 

This criteria puts undue hardship on very vulnerable families who are already stretched to their limit with costs associated with caring for a dependent. For many providing 24 hour care, it means that they cannot work outside of the home. In fact they cannot leave the home unless there is someone present to care for their dependent.  For others it means they have the unsustainable task of carrying loved ones up and down the stairs to use the bathroom as they have no downstairs facility. For many, these tasks have become overwhelming and carers have been forced to let their loved ones be cared for within state institutions such as a nursing home. This is not what anybody wants – least of all the government as it is such a costly measure. However, some carers have had no choice as the funds for adapting their homes to make them suitable for living with a dependent relative are simply not forthcoming.

 

At this stage, when we at the Carers Association see the strain that our members are under, we feel we must point out once again that already family carers are saving the state over four billion euro every year by caring for their loved ones at home. People who are now ineligible for these grants may now have to take the difficult decision to have their loved ones cared for by the state simply because they cannot afford to have their homes modified to keep them there safely.

 

On behalf of our members we ask the government to begin delivering the Housing Adaptation Grants and Mobility Grant scheme at full capacity once again and keep dependent loved ones at home rather than in costly state care.

 

Waterford SME ‘Chia bia’ announce €70,000 Investment

As part of the company’s ongoing expansion, Waterford-based Health Food Company Chia bia, Ireland’s largest supplier of Chia seeds, has announced a €70,000 investment in new equipment. Funding for a new milling machine was supported by Waterford Leader Partnership and Linked Finance with the remainder self-funded by Chia bia. Minister for Small Business John Perry and Claire Connors of Waterford Leader Partnership recently attended an on-site visit to the Chia bia premises in Tramore, Co Waterford to celebrate this new phase of development.

The investment will simplify their current business model and greatly reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Since the company’s foundation in 2009, Chia bia has taken the health food market by storm with demand for its product range doubling year on year. Chia bia now employs a team of nine people and last year received a prestigious ‘Best Exporter’ award at the National Enterprise Awards.

“This is an important milestone for Chia bia and it will have a positive impact on our business processes as well as providing economic benefits. We are grateful to both Waterford Leader Partnership and Linked Finance who supported funding for our new milling machine. Having alternative financial support options in place is fundamental as it helps small business to fulfil their potential and create employment” said Barrie Rogers, co-founder of Chia bia with Ray Owens.

Since launching in 100 health stores in February 2010, Chia bia now supplies to over 2,000 outlets across the UK and Ireland. The company recently signed a new distribution deal which will see its range of products listed in Tesco’s 142 stores across Ireland. In the UK, Chia bia is available from Selfridges, Holland & Barrett and is listed with all major health food distributors and an increasing number of independent health food stores.

“We are very excited for what the future holds for Chia bia and this will be a crucial element to creating further growth in our company. We are investing in product development which will see us introduce a new range of gluten-free cookies in March 2014. Our markets are ever growing and we are rapidly progressing our shares in Northern Europe and Canada. By 2016, we hope to be trading in at least eight international markets” said Barrie.

Chia bia was established by Irish entrepreneurs Ray Owens and Barrie Rogers in 2009. Barrie, formerly a financial consultant, was inspired to found the business having experienced first-hand the health benefits of seeds while recovering from a back injury. He joined with Ray who had a background in production and sales in the food industry. Chia bia supplies seven unique products including organic nutrient bars and bags of whole and milled Chia seeds. Health benefits include increased energy levels, improved concentration, reduced cholesterol and healthy digestion.

www.chiabia.com

 

Ireland’s first ‘No Salt’ Cookery School launches exciting range of ‘New Year, New You’ classes

Ireland’s first ‘No Salt’ Cookery School in Moville, Inishowen, Co. Donegal has launched a new range of exciting culinary classes. Classes for 2014 will place a particular focus on ‘New Year, New You’ programmes all demonstrating the ‘No Salt’ philosophy. A completely new concept to Ireland, the school was recently opened by Chef Brian McDermott, otherwise known as ‘The No Salt Chef’, and is called the ‘Brian McDermott Cookery School’.

Salt is a high priority issue, with the average daily intake for Irish adults at 10 grams, well over the Recommended Daily Allowance of four grams.* Salt intake plays a critical role in regulating blood pressure, particularly important as Ireland has high mortality and morbidity rates from heart disease and stroke relative to other developed countries.

Brian fulfilled a long-held dream opening Ireland’s first ‘No Salt’ cookery school. The state-of-the-art cookery school offers fun, informative hand-on demonstrations accommodating up to 15 people. Since opening, the school has attracted participants from across Ireland, North and South, Brian has partnered with the nearby four star Redcastle Oceanfront, Golf and Spa Hotel for accommodation for the school.

“I am very excited to launch my new range of culinary classes at Ireland’s first ‘no salt’ cookery school in my hometown of Moville, Inishowen. It’s important that my food is healthy, doesn’t contain any added salt, but above all tastes fantastic and this is something I am passionate to teach. I cook clean and honest food with no hidden ingredients or added salt. I let the ingredients speak for themselves and instead of adding salt, I use herbs and spices that complement, but don’t overshadow the main dish” said Brian McDermott, ‘The No Salt Chef’ and founder of the Brian McDermott Cookery School.

Upcoming classes, all teaching the ‘No Salt’ philosophy, include –

‘New Year, New You’ – Stick to your New Year’s resolutions with a healthy eating cookery class; Healthy eating does not mean sacrificing delicious food. Learn how to cook food that is as mouthwatering as it is good for you and best of all you get to sample everything.
‘Sea Food Master class’ – Using fresh fish from Greencastle Harbour, master delicious seafood dishes; With the local Greencastle fishing harbour on the cookery schools doorstep, fish will not get any fresher than this. This class will equip you with the knowledge and skills to master satisfying, tasty seafood dishes using the best of local produce.

‘Saturday Morning Kitchen’ – Make the most of Saturdays; This half-day cookery class will show you how to plan, cook and serve delicious food for all your friends and family. Guests will receive breakfast scones and tea/coffee on arrival, followed by a fun interactive demo, lunch and a signed Brian McDermott cookery book.

‘Brian’s 30 Minute Meals’ – Learn how to spend less time in the kitchen and more time relaxing; Enjoy a tasty, nutritious, home-cooked meal from chopping board to plate in 30 minutes or less. Brian will share timesaving tips and tricks of the trade, as well as his delicious recipes.

‘Bake with Brian’ – Master the essentials of affordable and delicious baking; discover your flour power and learn to bake in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Brian will share his baking tips, techniques and recipes to help you become a better baker.

‘Men in the Kitchen’ –Become your own MasterChef and learn how to prepare some man food; Men are welcome to attend all classes, but this ‘men only’ class has its own distinct atmosphere. By introducing practical theories of cooking, Brian will transform kitchen rookies into confident cooks.

‘One Pot Wonders’ – Wholesome hearty dishes with minimum fuss; Give the dishwasher a night off with Brian’s delicious one-pot meals using affordable local produce. This class is perfect for those wanting to learn tips and ideas for feeding your family nutritious, cost effective food.

The Brian McDermott Cookery School is also providing a unique Chef’s Table, providing groups of up to 14 people with a very personal culinary journey of a seven course tasting menu, where guests will dine while Brian cooks explaining the dish and using the best of local produce. Guests are greeted with a complimentary drink and canapé’s and the ‘Chef’s Table’ experience is already becoming very popular for family gatherings, girly nights out, office events and celebrating special occasions.

Chef Brian McDermott is one of only a handful of Irish chefs with a Culinary Arts Degree, graduating top of his class. A successful career working in the kitchens of some of his native Donegal’s most lauded establishments and a senior global product development role in Kerry Group ended when Brian was diagnosed with a heart condition. As a result, Brian completely changed his life and his cooking style and quickly established a reputation for himself as “The No Salt Chef”. Brian is author of his first and very successful cookery book, ‘Reunite with Food’, regularly works with award-winning chef, Neven Maguire, and hosts cookery demonstrations across the country. He presents his own weekly cookery slot on BBC radio and is a regular contributor to many Irish press titles.

Hands on Cookery Classes at The Brian McDermott Cookery School start from €35.00

‘The Brian McDermott Cookery School’, Carrownaffe, Moville, Ireland / See www.thenosaltchef.com / Tel: +74 93 85921
 

A New Year, A New You with Chia bia – Naturally increase your energy levels and lose weight

Make 2014 your healthiest year yet with Chia bia, Chia seeds have long been lauded by health conscious celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and supermodel Miranda Kerr.

An ancient super-food grown in South America, Chia seeds are a natural, gluten-free, food-source containing all essential amino acids. They are the highest known plant-based source of Omega 3 and are high in fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc.

Through introducing chia seeds into diets on a regular basis, they are proven to help;

  • Maintain a healthy heart and digestive system
  • Improve memory and concentration
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Relieve joint pain
  • Encourage weight loss
  • Increase energy levels.

When used as part of a healthy eating plan, Chia seeds can help with reaching weight loss goals;

  • Chia is hydrophilic meaning that it absorbs water and bulks the stomach making you feel fuller for longer helping to eliminate cravings for unhealthy foods.
  • The soluble fibre in Chia helps slow down the rate at which carbohydrates are digested giving you a much slower release of energy. This ensures your digestive system is healthy and your metabolism is optimal.
  • When chia reaches the tummy, it gels and forms a physical barrier slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar diminishing sugar peaks and troughs and also ensuring the body stores less fat around the middle.
  • UK nutritionist Patrick Holford, and advocate of Chia bia, is currently promoting a new diet called the low GL diet. The GL Diet refers to Glycaemic Load and his premise behind the diet is that sugars, as opposed to the fats cause weight problems.

Chia bia is Ireland’s leading chia supplier importing their chia seeds from Dr Wayne Coates, the world’s leading chia expert, who sources his chia seeds directly from the farmers in South America, for use in their organic nutrient cereal bars and chia seed berry mixes.

See chiabia.com for more details on the benefits of Chia

 

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Carers face further distress following Government cuts to housing adaptation and mobility grants

Family carers across the country have been targeted once again with further cuts announced today to the Housing Adaptation Grant for people with a disability, Housing Aid for Older People and the Mobility Aid grants.

Carers learned this morning that changes to the grants will be implemented immediately and may affect many of the 187,112 family carers who are in receipt of the family carers allowance, seeking to make their homes safe to enable their loved ones to be cared for at home.

The announcement sets out new criteria for the eligibility of the grants leaving many family carers ineligible.

From now on applicants seeking the Housing Aid Grant for Older People must be over the age of 66 – where previously applicants needed to be 60 years of age. Also from today, the income of all household members is to be considered in means assessment for grants – up until now only the income of the applicant and the spouse was assessed. Also under the Housing Adaptation and Housing Aid Schemes, households in the lowest income band with an income of €30,000 or less will only receive 95% of the costs and not 100% as was previously the case. The upper income limit to be eligible for both schemes has been reduced by €5,000 to €60,000 and finally applicants for grants must also prove they have paid their property tax.

Catherine Cox, Communications Manager at the Carers Association says, “this is yet another huge blow to family carers who have already suffered in recent times with cuts to the Respite Care Grant. At a time when there are already huge demands on family carers, this revelation is devastating news for those who are seeking grants. Already family carers are saving the state over four billion euro every year by caring for their loved ones at home. People who are now ineligible for these grants may now have to take the difficult decision to have their loved ones cared for by the state simply because they cannot afford to have their homes modified to keep them there safely.

“Minister Jan O’ Sullivan has said that these cuts are not about saving money but ‘ensuring the grants are made to the maximum number of people that need them most.’ She claims that they have increased the funding for this year by €3million and will help more people stay at home. However, I fail to see how these cuts illustrate what she has stated. Spending on these grants has almost halved over the past three years from €79million in 2010 to €35million in 2013. They come on top of increasing restrictions on older people’s access to the Fair Deal nursing home beds, the abolition of their telephone allowance and cuts to the home-care budgets. The cuts are completely at odds with the Dept of Health’s policy to have less people in hospitals and institutions and care for them at home. Rather than keeping people at home, it will force them into already overcrowded A&E departments.”

“We believe it is timely for the Government to consider a statutory entitlement for carers to homecare community services, which would be of huge assistance to carers and their dependents and be in keeping with the policy to keep people out of hospital,” concluded Ms Cox.