Friday, November 20, 2020


Johanne Powell with a portrait featuring herself and her daughter, Siobhan, for whom she cared. Sadly her daughter Siobhan passed away earlier this year in the midst of covid-19.  Photo: Mark Stedman



By Elizabeth Lee

CARLOW company Netwatch has joined forces with Family Carers Ireland (FC) to shine a light on family caring in Ireland. They have just launched the Netwatch Year of the Family Carer.

The Netwatch Year of the Family Carer is a tribute to Ireland’s more than 355,000 family carers, who tirelessly care for sick, infirm, disabled and elderly loved ones at home.

As the country shut down in March, family carers stepped up to protect the people they care for safely at home, thus keeping hospital beds free. By doing so, family carers have played a major role in lessening the spread of coronavirus in Ireland. This comes at great personal cost, as outlined in the first national State of Caring report that was released in September, while saving the state an estimated €10bn annually.

Through the work that we do with customers all over Ireland, Netwatch have learned the value of communities. Strong communities build strong counties and from there strong countries,” stated the company’s CEO Wendy Hamilton at the launch.

We believe that strength comes from shared values and an empathy for what it takes to live that life. Family carers exemplify that belief for us, and Netwatch is proud to support them any year, but especially this year.”

Every day, family carers make an extraordinary contribution to the national healthcare system. To acknowledge this, FCI has organised a number of events as part of the Netwatch Year of the Family Carer, including a free online Concert for Carers on Saturday 28 November and an exhibition featuring family carer portraits, which are available to buy for €5,000 via with proceeds going into a hardship fund for those most affected by the pandemic.

On Saturday 28 November at 8.30pm, Celtic Tenor Matthew Gilsenan and special guest Deirdre Shannon from Celtic Women will perform inspirational songs to honour family carers and their loved ones. Family Carers Ireland patrons Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan will host the special event. Highlights from the evening will include a special song, Real heroes go unsung, penned by John Spillane, which featured on the RTÉ documentary David Brophy’s choir of unsung heroes earlier this year.

The free online concert is being broadcast via a stream on the Family Carers Ireland Facebook page ( and

People who wish to pledge their support to the campaign can donate via or Text FAMILY CARERS to 50300 to donate €4. Text costs €4. Family Carers Ireland will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service provider, Likecharity; helpline, 076 6805278.

For more information, visit

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