Local advocate of the elderly Paddy O’Brien has welcomed the easing of Covid-19 restrictions but warned that there are still people who are living in fear.
Mr O’Brien said that while he welcomes the news of “heading back to normality one again”, there are people who are still feeling the effects of the last 22 months.
“I welcome all the openings of course because there are people out there who haven’t had a decent salary, some of them, for the last two years. There are a lot of families affected financially. When things improve, these people can have a normal lifestyle again.
"Elderly people were not allowed to go out, they weren’t allowed to visit their children and their children couldn’t visit them and that experience has affected them. A lot of elderly people are suffering from mental health problems.
“They were faced with something that they never experienced before in their lives. Being confined indoors they were like prisoners in their own home.
“They had to adhere to all the rules and regulations, they wore masks, they didn’t go out, they didn’t congregate and they never actually got over it and people are still suffering,” he said.
He said that despite the fact that mass is “back to normal” in terms of numbers allowed to attend, there are some people who still have not returned out of fear of catching the virus.
"They’re still living in that fear that they would pick up the virus somewhere and are being extra careful.
“It’s good to see that people can live normal lives but there are still people living in fear and people are still affected by it and we need to recognise that,” he said.