Tracy Carroll with daughter Willow

'You choose to ignore me, my daughter’s full-time carer. I, who save you the State thousands by working long, unrelenting days.

A worn out Meath mum who survives on just four hours sleep a night, caring for her severely disabled daughter has penned an angry letter to politicians highlighting how her family has been 'abandoned' by the State.

Tracy Carroll from Allenstown in Bohermeen believes her family is being punished because her husband John is in full-time employment, paying the higher rate of tax. "He also pays into a private pension, the mortgage, life insurance, family health insurance. Working long hours, nights away to support our family."

Willow who was born on 1st December 2016 was removed from life-support two days later and not expected to live but the little fighter clung onto life and survived.
However, her complex condition means that Tracy survives on just four hours sleep each night, drives her daughter to various health appointments and is entitled to a paltry €73 a week because her John is in full-time employment.

“Willow is a child and deserves the same opportunities afforded to all children - to be allowed to enjoy what stimulates her and helps her progress but these opportunities and rights have been removed because the Government are not supporting a carer.”

In an open letter on her Facebook page, Tracy wrote:  

To our elected government,
My name is Tracy Carroll, mum to two courageous beautiful children. Noah (5) and Willow (2). Wife to a supportive, hard working, loving husband, John.
From the age of 16 I worked, always registered and paying taxes.
I attended college and worked, paying my way.
Two weeks in my 25 years of employment I was on jobseekers due to redundancy. I sought out full-time employment as soon as possible, securing a position fitting to my qualifications and experience. I continued to work until the day Willow was born, ensuring to remain in a good position, contributing to our country and supporting my family , along with John.
1st December 2016, Willow was born.
Bang! Our world was ripped apart, pieces sent in all directions.
My daughter suffered a catastrophic brain injury, our lives were about to change dramatically.
Now I no longer can remain in the workforce, no longer progressing in a career I once enjoyed. No longer recognised as being employed.
Today and everyday since Willow was born, I care for my beautiful daughter 24/7, no two days are ever the same.
No expectations of how my day may be, no plans beyond this moment.
Do you support me?
The government?
You, who earns a handsome salary, expenses, pensions?
You, who we as citizens of Ireland voted to work for us, to support us, to take account of our needs.
Or do you seek soft votes?
We the minority you arrogantly bypass, you choose to treat us as the invisible workforce.
If I chose to take you to the labour court tell me, would the hard facts stand in my favour?
Hours not set. 24/7 on call. Salary. €0.00, No annual leave. No illness respite.
Our crime?
My husband John is in full-time employment, paying the higher rate of tax, paying a private pension, paying a mortgage, paying life insurance, paying for family health insurance. Working long hours, nights away to support our family.
And so you apply a rule of means testing when we make an application for carers allowance. You choose to look at my husband’s income and decide we are not eligible.
You choose not to see how we pay our own way in a society who rewards those who chose not to contribute.
You chose to ignore me, an employer in my home, my daughter’s full-time carer. I, who save you the state thousands yearly by working long unrelenting days.
Well now I ask you to see me, see us all, every carer in Ireland for an incapacitated child.
It is now time for change. Needs testing must be applied, see the need of the individual child and assess accordingly.
I tell you now, as I, Willow’s mum write this letter, I will not relent, I do not give up. I will take this fight on and I will make you see us, every one of us.
Soft votes and easy targets does not make you strong, does not gain you respect. When you fail one, you fail us all.
I expect to meet you soon and I expect this time you will SEE ME.

NOW READ TRACY'S FULL STORY ‘It’s time Government looked at the real value of parent carers like us’