At the Netwatch Family Carer of the Year Awards at Conyngham Arms Hotel, Slane. Carolyn O. Solanke (Family Carer of the Year Award winner) with her son Moyo and Geraldine Keogan (Leas-Cathaoirleach Bettystown / Laytown Municipal District). Photo: David Mullen/

‘Inspirational’ Slane mum is Meath Carer of the Year

An inspirational Slane mother has been announced as Netwatch Meath Family Carer of the Year.

Carolyn O. Solanke received the accolade from Family Carers Ireland, the national charity supporting Ireland’s family carers.

This prestigious award recognises the exceptional dedication and commitment of family carers across the nation who provide vital care at home for loved ones with additional needs.

Carolyn has been caring for her son Moyo, who is 19-years-of-age and lives with down syndrome. Her friends say of her that “she loves the socks off everyone and makes sure every day that Moyo is happy and healthy."

She has been described as a person who loves and gives to anyone in need and deserves to be applauded publicly for all that she does privately.

Now in their 16th year, the Netwatch Family Carer of the Year Awards continue to pay tribute to the remarkable work of over 500,000 family carers in Ireland who care for children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental health challenges or addiction.

As a society, it is vital that we truly recognise and acknowledge the contribution of family carers. They play a critical role in maintaining the wellbeing and dignity of their loved ones, enabling them to receive the care they require in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. Collectively, family carers contribute a remarkable 19 million hours of unpaid care each week. If the State were to seek to replace this support, it would cost an astonishing €20 billion annually.

Family Carers Ireland says that while the awards provide an opportunity to shine a light on the often-hidden work of Ireland’s family carers, they also seek to underscore the importance of ensuring all family carers can access the essential supports and services they need care safely at home such as access to appropriate financial compensation, respite and therapies for their loved ones.

Jacinta Kennedy Mulligan, local Community Supports Manager with Family Carers Ireland, expressed the significance of this award: "The Netwatch Family Carer of the Year Awards not only recognise the dedication and sacrifices made by every single-family carer, but also serve as a powerful reminder of the crucial role they play in our society. Their resilience, love and support are immeasurable. Their contributions are a testament to the strength of our community. Carolyn’s story reflects the commitment, love and hard work exhibited by family carers throughout the country.”

Mick Galwey, Netwatch Brand Ambassador, said: “When you hear the stories of family carers, you can't help but be moved by their commitment to going above and beyond for their loved ones every day. Sadly, this work is largely unseen and too often undervalued. Family carers truly deserve our support and recognition and to play some small part in helping to do that is very special to all of us at Netwatch.”