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Carers to get free GP visit cards

The Health Minister Simon Harris has announced free GP cards for all carers.

The Government says they have also found an extra €10m to fund respite care.

Minister Harris says it means anyone getting carers allowance, who previously did not qualify for the GP card, will get one.

He said: "It will benefit tens of thousands of carers who currently don't have a free GP card - and it will also mean that many of them who do have a card will no longer be subjected to reviews in relation to that card.

"This is a direct response to hearing the voices of carers when they talk about who cares for them when they need medical attention, when they get sick, when they need to visit their GP."

The Government also says €8m will provide 12 dedicated respite houses around the country.

The remaining €2m will be used to help fund 'respite solutions' such as home sharing and extended day services.

Minister of State with special responsibility for Disability, Finian McGrath, said: "I am very aware of the pressure on carers of people with disabilities who are often under tremendous strain to keep going.

"I hope that this funding will enable them to get a well-deserved break and to maintain their own health and wellbeing."