At today’s launch of its Pre-Election Manifesto, The Carers Association Kilkenny unveiled Ireland’s first Virtual Carers Campaign. With serious threat posed to the sustainability of family care in the home, the new campaign enables Family Carers - the invisible workforce who often provide round-the-clock care - to get their voices heard from home.
The Carers Virtual Campaign allows Carers to upload an image of themselves to the Carers Association website with the messages they want heard by election candidates. Messages uploaded to the site so far include; ‘Don’t split us up”, ‘Slave labour – do you work for less than EUR1 per hour?’ ‘JFK was wrong, I serve my country - it does not serve me”. These photos will be sent by the Carers Association to all election candidates running in the carer’s constituency as well as live updates on The Carers Association’s Flickr and Facebook accounts.
As part of the campaign, The Carers Association is also urging voters to issue ‘yellow cards’ to all politicians, a specially created canvassing card stating what carers need from the next Government; containing questions such as ‘What will you do to ensure that every Carer has an adequate income and has opportunities to have a life outside of caring?’. The Carers Association also encourage Voters to ask all candidates about their policies for family carers.
As part of their new election manifesto for 2011, the Carers Association have published a five way pledge which they demand all political parties commit to. These consist of; a pledge to publish the National Carers Strategy; a pledge that every Carer will have the right to adequate income and have opportunities to work and have a life outside of their caring role; a pledge to support Carer’s health and well-being and improve access to services; a pledge to provide support for young Carers; and a pledge to promote equality and social justice for Family Carers.
At present there are 160,917 Carers in Ireland, contributing 3.7 million cumulated hours of care each week; of that number 3,434 reside in Kilkenny (5% of Kilkenny’s population) – each of whom contribute some 45,000 euros of caring per year.
The Carers Association of Kilkenny/Carlow are hosting a ‘Meet your Candidates’ questions and answers event for carers and election candidates in Newpark Hotel on Thursday, 10th Feb at 8 pm.