A Granard mother of four who has spent the best part of three and a half decades caring for her beloved daughter has spoken of her joy at receiving a top nationally recognised award.
Marcella Kiernan from Ferriskill in Granard was among 20 long serving carers who were honoured by President Michael D Higgins at a ceremony in Dublin last week.
Marcella received her award in recognition of the care she has provided to her daughter Rosaleen for the past 33 years.
As she reflected on her new found notoriety this week, Marcella appeared almost embarrassed by it all.
“I was very surprised.
“I am very thankful and very grateful and I will never forget the honour they bestowed on me,” she said in reference to the award’s hosting body, The Carers Association.
Her daughter Rosaleen, aged 33, suffers from mobility difficulties and epilepsy.
As such Marcella provides 24 hour, seven days a week care backed up by the unwavering support she receives from her husband, Cornelius.
The softly spoken north Longford native also paid testimony to the assistance that comes from both The Carers Association and St Christopher’s Services.
She said despite the long and unsociable hours involved, caring for her daughter is an undertaking she looks forward to every single day.
“It’s hard work but it’s a rewarding job at the same time,” she added.
She adopted a defensive stance when asked about a profession that in the past has fallen foul to government austerity.
“We (carers) are saving the State quite a lot of money, millions in fact by helping to keep people in their own homes,” she said.
Her words seemed to be shared by the man who helped hand out last week’s Long Service Caring Awards.
President Michael D Higgins described carers as “unsung heroes” who made enormous private sacrifices, giving up time, personal freedom, opportunities, and even friendships to look after a loved one.
Carers from all over the country were honoured by President Higgins last week. Patrons of the Carers Association Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan also attended the ceremony.