Jim Milward, Patricia Milward, Eddie Keevan (Carer Support Manage), Cathaoirleach Fidelis Doherty, Linda Millward (Carer of the Year), Caragh Kieran, Mayor Andrew McGuinness and Mick Galwey (Netwatch
Linda Milward, from Ayrfield, Kilkenny, has been announced as this year’s Netwatch Kilkenny Family Carer of the Year by Family Carers Ireland, the national charity supporting Ireland’s family carers.
Linda cares for her daughter Caragh (8) who has profound special needs and requires round-the-clock care. During lockdown, Linda worked full-time from home while caring alone for Caragh to help keep her safe from Covid-19.
Linda’s mother Patricia, who nominated her, said that her daughter has had to fight hard for Caragh’s rights and needs and would bend over backwards to help anybody, despite the challenges she herself faces.
The annual awards seek to recognise and shine a light on the remarkable contribution of Ireland’s forgotten frontline who go the extra mile every day in caring for loved ones with additional needs. More than 500,000 people in Ireland provide unpaid care in the home for children or adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental ill-health, or addiction. The 19 million hours of unpaid care provided each week by family carers would cost the state €20bn a year to replace.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for all of society but especially for family carers and those they care for who saw essential services and supports severely impacted. The blanket withdrawal of supports such as homecare, respite, personal assistance hours and residential care during lockdown forced many to care alone, around the clock. When Ireland shut down, family carers stepped up in support of their loved ones.
“Now more than ever, family carers deserve to be recognised for their enormous contribution to our society," said Carlow Kilkenny Carer Supports Manager Eddy Keevan.
"Their unyielding commitment to care for their loved ones at home, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, has been nothing short of remarkable and this sacrifice often comes at a cost to their physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. These awards are about paying tribute to all of Ireland's 500,000 family carers and shining a light on the immense work that they do, day in, day out, often with little or no help from the State. Their essential contribution to our national healthcare system needs to be properly acknowledged and supported.”
Colin Hayes, Netwatch Head of Business, Ireland and UK said:
“This is our third year partnering with Family Carers Ireland, and yet again we are blown away by the level of sacrifice, care and commitment shown by each and every carer. It’s an honour to be part of this and hope that our involvement can help in even a small way to highlight this charity and support the needs of its members.”
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