An 'unshakeable belief' in the power of community will get us through coronavirus crisis

An 'unshakeable belief' in the power of community will get us through coronavirus crisis
Local resident Pauline Roche who is presently working from home because of the Covid-19 emergency taking an early morning walk with her dog Billy around the pond in the community park in Carrigaline, Co. Cork, Ireland. Picture; David Creedon / Anzenberger

TÁNAISTE Simon Coveney has said he has an "unshakeable belief" in the resilience of Ireland's society and in the power of community.

"In the end, community is what we got us through this crisis on a local and on a national level," he said.

"I can't overstate the importance that the Government attaches to the power of community action in this crisis.

"We're asking the most senior public servants in every county and every city to oversee a new initiative that we're announcing today."

Mr Coveney added: "Today, I'm announcing a major national and local initiative called the Community Call.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney. 
Tánaiste Simon Coveney. 

"It's a partnership with national governments, local governments and the community and voluntary sectors.

"Right across the country we will coordinate community activity and direct community assistance, where it's needed.

"It will marshal a volunteering response in every town, parish county and city in the country.

"The work of Community Call will be focused on specific needs and it will also be broad-ranging in its reach and its scope."

Mr Coveney added: "This is an unprecedented mobilisation of State and voluntary resources to combat the effects of a crisis that has come on us, so suddenly and so unexpectedly.

Sergeant Mick O’Connell, Community Policing, Cork City Division An Garda Síochána at Oliver Plunket Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Sergeant Mick O’Connell, Community Policing, Cork City Division An Garda Síochána at Oliver Plunket Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

"I am convinced, though, that our communities will be the decisive factor in protecting and restoring our society and our economy in the weeks and months ahead, bringing us to a better future.

"In the face of this national emergency it will be how we respond as communities, how we look after our friends and our neighbours that may well be decisive Ireland.

"In my view, Ireland has stronger communities than any other country in the world.

"This crisis and this emergency will test that network and that resilience, but I am confident that our communities will respond to this initiative in a way that will save lives and help many, many people across this island."

Total income support payments during the coronavirus outbreak have amounted to €54 million, which was paid out this week, the government has said.

In a Government briefing today, Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, said that over 225,000 applications were submitted online between March 12 and 31.

She also said that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will hold a press conference later on Thursday regarding the exchequer figures.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring said that nobody will be left behind in the fight against coronavirus.

Sergeant Róisín O’Dea on early morning patrol in Bandon, Co Cork, as part of the new Coronavirus regulations. Picture Dan Linehan
Sergeant Róisín O’Dea on early morning patrol in Bandon, Co Cork, as part of the new Coronavirus regulations. Picture Dan Linehan

Mr Ring pledged that the Government and communities will be there to help the vulnerable and the elderly.

"Do not be afraid. I'm calling on everyone to talk to your community," Mr Ring said.

"The most important aspect in this is neighbours, because every neighbour knows each other and people trust their neighbour.

"I'm asking neighbours today to take up the phone, and everybody has a phone, and ring your neighbour to see that they are OK.

"I want to say to people to stop putting up messages on Facebook that is not true. Do not frighten our elderly people."

Ms Canavan also said that the Irish Government provided 10 million euro in funding to the United Nations global humanitarian response plan.

"This plan will help particularly vulnerable countries in their response to the virus," she said.

"Ireland's allocation to the UN appeal is part of our support for the work of all those across the world who are saving lives in these most challenging of circumstances.

"This donation of aid will serve as a reminder that we are united on a global scale in the fight against Covid-19."

Stephen Scully, Cork City Council and Sgt. Mick O'Connell encouraging social distancing in Blackrock village.
Stephen Scully, Cork City Council and Sgt. Mick O'Connell encouraging social distancing in Blackrock village.

The Government also reminded the public about fraudsters taking advantage of the health crisis.

"The gardaí are encouraging people to be cautious in the following circumstances," it said.

"Beware of anyone calling to your house offering services in relation to Covid-19 essential services.

"For Covid-19 tests, HSE staff, ambulances, nurses, paramedics and doctors will not call to your house unless you've been in touch with them first.

"Also be aware of bogus charity collectors."

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