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On Carers Week, expert groups call for Constitution to recognise value of care in society

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National Women’s Council of Ireland & Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

10 June 2014

Supporting National Carers Week (June 9-15), the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) and Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) today called for constitutional reform to create a society and culture that values care and those who provide it.

An estimated 274,000 family carers provide over six million hours of care each week in Ireland. The Government relies heavily on family carers to care for the old, the young, the sick and the frail. They are crucial in caring for the population yet, according to NWCI and MRCI, the State fails to fully recognise and value their enormous contribution.

In 2012 the Constitutional Convention voted to recommend the amending of the Irish Constitution to include a gender-neutral recognition of the importance of care.

To mark National Carers Week,  NWCI and MRCI are joining together to reiterate this call for constitutional reform.

Alice Higgins of NWCI stated, “It is time to formally recognise the fundamental importance of care within our Constitution. It is important to highlight and celebrate the work of carers and – while recognising that over 80% of adult care is currently delivered by women – ensure that care is seen an issue for the whole of society.”

Aoife Smith of MRCI said, “Demand for care is growing as people are living longer. Every 15 minutes someone in Ireland turns 65. We should be having serious discussions about how we provide care, who is doing the caring and how carers’ rights and dignity are being upheld.”

Smith continued, “Today we celebrate the work of family carers across the country and thank them for their work and commitment. We will all need care at some point; improving the way we provide care for one another will create an economy and a society that works for all of us. We have the opportunity to re-imagine care in Ireland by reforming the constitution. Amending the constitution will recognise the value of care and the importance of those who provide it.”

ENDS

NOTES

National Carers Week http://www.carersweek.ie/

NWCI recommends that Article 41.2 of the Constitution (on ‘women in the home’) be altered to read as follows:

The State recognises that home, family and community life give society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.  The State shall endeavour to support persons caring for others.

For more, please see http://www.nwci.ie/download/pdf/nwci_workingpaper_gender_constitution_2012.pdf

Constitutional Convention: 98% of delegates supported a proposal to alter the article to make it gender neutral and to acknowledge the important role of other carers in the home.

Infographic: Care in Ireland https://infogr.am/facing-the-facts-care-in-ireland?src=web

For more on MRCI’s work with carers and domestic workers, please see http://www.mrci.ie/our-work/domestic/