Cuts to housing grants and respite care have been highlighted as particular challenges for people caring for a loved one at home.

Speaking at the launch of the National Carers' Strategy today in Dublin spokesperson for the group, Catherine Cox, said funding cuts had been hard for their members and said that respite care support is very poor.  

The group reported on the slow progress of the Government's National Carers' Strategy, highlighting a 19% cut to the Respite Care Grant in 2012 and the halving of funding for Housing Grant Schemes.

The Department of Health has said it was always clear that the National Carers' Strategy would be "subject to constraints, particularly as it was framed in a time of great economic difficulty for the State."

Although the State's financial position has improved, a spokesperson for the department said, "significant challenges remain and resources generally are still under significant pressure."

Adding, “the strategy's mechanisms are still only properly bedding in, and it is important to allow time for that to bear fruit before any review would take place."

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Protection, which administers the Respite Care Grant said while a decision was taken to reduce the amount of the grant in Budget 2013, "it is worth making the point that the rate of the Respite Care Grant at €1,375 is still more than twice what it was in 2002 when it was €635, and higher than it was in 2006 at the height of the economic boom, when it was €1,200."

While the Department of the Environment, which funds Housing Adaption Grants, said the overall spend last year was €46.3 and the 2015 amount will increase by some 10% representing a spend of €50.5 million.