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The latest in the ongoing Discussion Paper series, this new Discussion Paper, entitled ‘Family Caring and Minority Populations’, continues the series’ goal of introducing some less-discussed topics which may affect family carers.

Much of the knowledge of the experiences, challenges and support needs of Irish family carers are based upon the assumption that the average family carer in Ireland is a white, Catholic, middle-aged, heterosexual woman. Whilst this assumption does have statistical merit, this stereotypical portrayal of family carers does not take account of other caring situations.

Across the country, organisations supporting and advocating for family carers are naturally focussed on providing the best supports for the greatest number of family carers. However, the risk is that such an approach will be less successful in addressing the specific needs of minority group carers such as members of the Travelling Community, ethnic and religious minorities, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) community.

The aim of this paper is to introduce some of the particular issues which family carers who are members of minority populations face, along with suggested policy and support changes that may go towards addressing them. We welcome feedback from readers on these issues, and suggestions for further topics in the series. You can read the paper on our website ( Please contact Zoe ( should you wish to make any comments.

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