Deputy Alan Dillon on community supports for Mayo constituents during COVID-19

Dillon highlights urgent financial aid to help communities impacted by COVID-19

Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Alan Dillon has written to the Taoiseach and relevant Ministers to press the need for an immediate response fund be put in place to help community organisations, voluntary and charity groups help protect the most vulnerable in our society.

Deputy Dillon said “It is crucially important that these groups receive the necessary state resourcing and funding to enable delivery of essential material and emotional supports to families in the best possible way where state services are overwhelmed.

Deputy Dillon added “There is huge potential for a community response working together in solidarity and partnership with government agencies, to help stem the spread of this virus and assist in delivering supports to the most vulnerable must, therefore, be activated as an absolute priority.

These groups are ideally placed and understand what is required during this difficult time for example we only have to look at Castlebar Social Services, their activities include volunteers delivering meals and a dedicated call-line “BeFriending Mayo” for older people.

What I’d like to see now is for this funding to be resolved urgently and I’m confident that it will, as the energy and potential in the sector to help defeat Codvid-19 must not be compromised by delay

We have seen funding and resourcing measures put in place during the containment phase where agreed actions across government departments were implemented :

  • €435 for HSE scaling up due to population impact
  • €2.4b package of reforms for sick pay, illness benefit and jobseekers benefit.
  • €200m in liquidity fundingfor business in trouble

Since Ireland has moved from the containment phase into the Delay Phase we need to ensure we have community measures in place to response to state service that may become overwhelmed”.

The Fine Gael TD said “From talking to staff within the sector there is an acknowledgement and confirmation of sufficient resources and funding for the sector been slower than for other key parts of our economy”.

Additional services could be extended with the delivery of groceries and medication, or perhaps providing phone support services for people in self-isolation or fearful of going out in public and a range of mental health initiatives to address the huge emotional impact that will result. The list of these initiatives is almost endless”.