Tonight, I need your advice. What should I do?

Imagine the following situation. Hypothetically.

Over the past months, a care agency has delivered just over one third of the care hours they were contracted to deliver. We told them repeatedly that the situation was unsustainable and was putting Pádraig and us at risk.

At a meeting three weeks ago, we told them that we were at breaking point. We have an extremely difficult situation coming up at home and cannot continue to cover hours that should be covered by the agency – on top of the hours we have to cover ourselves anyway.

Following the meeting, I had expected improvements in the situation. Yet, nothing happened. The co-ordinator went on two weeks’ leave and her replacement did not do anything that would have aliviated the situation.

So I advertised, shortlisted, interviewed and trialled a highly qualified and experience carer who is ready to start. All in one week. I did what I would have expected the agency to do myself. I now want the agency to cover that carer’s salary which is broadly in line with what they pay their employees. Unfortunately, instead of being grateful for my efforts, they decline and are saying ‘no’.

I’ve thought about –

– getting a good lawyer to take them to Court;

– employing the carer and send an invoice to the agency; bringing them to Court if they don’t pay;

– ringing all the journalists I know to tell them that this agency has been in breach of their contractual obligations for months, are leaving us high and dry and are putting Pádraig’s and our health at risk;

– writing and ringing our TDs, members of parliament, as well as the Department of Health and the HSE HQ;

– starting a one-man demonstration outside of the agency’s HQ;

– all of the above.

In such a situation, what do you think should I do? What would be your advice? Would it be reasonable in this situation to be unreasonable, to be outraged, and to become really, really difficult?