February 23, 2024

‘Playing with people’s lives’ – Kilkenny Carer of the Year and mum of four kids with special needs urges people to stay indoors

Kilkenny’s Carer of the Year Linda Comerford has made an emotional appeal to people to stay indoors throughout the Covid-19 emergency.

Linda, the mother of four children with special needs, warned people still gathering in groups despite the effective national lockdown are “playing with other people’s lives”.

Originally from Clara, Linda now lives in Skeoughvosteen  with her husband Frank and their four children Michael (18), Darragh, (13), Shauna (six) and Franky (four), who all have additional needs.

Linda said: “With Covid-19, I worry about if the kids contract it. Can I stay in hospital with them? I couldn’t leave them in a hospital, no nurse has the time to mind them 24/7.

“I worry if I got the virus, who is going to step into my shoes? My husband is working and he is petrified that he’ll bring something home. That really weighs heavy on him at the moment.”

Linda said she finds it “very frustrating” when she sees people continue to gather in groups.

She added: “They are playing with other people’s lives. It is going to be hard but we have to pull together so normality can resume.”

Linda, the Netwatch Kilkenny Carer of the Year 2019, said the family is down to their “last little bit” of hand sanitiser and pairs of gloves.

But she added: “Thankfully Family Carers Ireland have just sent me some supplies and have been checking in with us to ensure we are OK.

“Their support and the chat group of friends who also are parents of children with additional needs is what’s getting me through this.

“They understand in a way that others never could and we also have a laugh. It’s really scary, there are so many ‘what ifs’ so many unknowns. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Linda said she took her children out of school before they closed to keep them safe. But she admits it is difficult for them to understand what is happening and why they have to stay in the house.

“The schools have closed, the support centres are closed and in the current crisis it is not safe to have our allocated eight hours of Home Support, a service we are desperately missing. We are on our own.

“Even before the schools were officially closed I took the decision to keep my children at home. I just didn’t want to risk it. There are too many variables out there. At least at home you can protect them,” Linda added.

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