Real Attack On Rural Isolation Urgent

 

One of my abiding memories from the General Election is the extent to which people live in painful isolation in remote areas and indeed in our villages and towns. The latter group may live near people but they are on their own. There are a number of factors which exacerbate the problem. Contemporary breathaliser provisions have put the Pub out of bounds. Where work is available mortgage levels make it necessary for couples to work closing many houses from eight until late.The traditionally strong extended family structure has increasingly given way to the nuclear family.

Marvellous work to alleviate loneliness is being done by Positive Age, Social Services and a host of other voluntary groups. There are state interventions through the H.S.E., the Rural Social Scheme , Rural Transport, and others. Our Clergy play a major role also. The Postman and Postwoman will often provide the only visit of an entire day. These interventions are great but in my view are not enough.

I believe the record number of unemployed provides an opportunity here. Unemployed people should be involved in visiting and practically assisting victims of isolation. The Rural Social Scheme has not been extensive enough. My proposal can be implemented and supervised by existing agencies and professionals. It will actually effect savings in the health budget.

Those unemployed selected for the scheme will themselves benefit enormously in terms of self esteem and employability. It will have major quality of life implications for the beneficiaries. Since this concept was the cultural norm in an older Ireland it will take off with greater ease than it might otherwise.

In my view Minister Burton is setting out to be not only compassionate but radical and reforming. In my view this proposal is one worth taking on. Any thing that will improve peoples’ lives for the better and can be afforded has to get priority.

I would be delighted to get reaction to this or my previous blogs through the Talk to Joe facility on this website.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website