Carer of the Year award goes to Cork woman who has looked after her quadriplegic husband for 24 years

Netwatch Family Carer of the Year 2023 shines a light on invaluable work of family carers, many of whom receive little or no assistance or financial support

A Cork woman who cares for her husband following a life-changing car crash has been named the Netwatch Family Carer of the Year 2023.

Breda Morrissey from Ballyvolane, Cork has cared for her husband, Timmy, since 1999 when he became a quadriplegic due to severe head injuries sustained in the crash and a subsequent fall in the hospital.

She transformed her home by setting up a bed in the sittingroom, where Ms Morrissey slept next to him for years, and tended to his needs including dressing, feeding and providing constant care.

She receives no assistance or financial support, no medical card to ease the burden and navigates the complexities, challenges and hugely physical demands of caring entirely on her own. She also cared for her sister during a 10-month battle with cancer.


The Netwatch Family Carer of the Year Awards seeks to shine a light on the invaluable work of family carers.

Catherine Cox, head of communications and policy at Family Carers Ireland, commended Ms Morrissey’s “extraordinary commitment”.

“Breda’s story is not merely a tale of personal endurance, but a poignant reflection of the untold sacrifices made by countless family carers across the country. Her resilience and selfless commitment are an inspiration to us all,” she said.

“While these awards highlight the exceptional commitment of a few, they truly celebrate the entirety of Ireland’s family carers who consistently go above and beyond to care for their loved ones. As a society, it’s imperative that we not only listen to their stories, but also recognise the indispensable role played by family carers and provide the necessary supports and services to enable them to care safely at home.”

Five young carers were also celebrated during the event: Conor Byrne (19) from Wicklow, who provides care to his mother; Laura Keelan (12) from Dublin, who helps to care for her siblings; Lyrah Dooley (17) from Cork, for the care she gives to her mother; Cillian McCarthy (10) from Galway, who provides support to his twin brother; and Cameron Mills (12) from Monaghan, whose care for his father was recognised.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times