ALONE welcomes announcement of €3M to tackle loneliness

PRESS RELEASE

ALONE welcomes announcement of €3M to tackle loneliness
The Loneliness Taskforce, established by ALONE and Sen. Keith Swanick, called for investment and responsibility of loneliness allocated to a specific Minister in June 2018

Dublin, 17th April 2019 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a €3 million fund, separate to the mental fund, which will be used to combat loneliness across Ireland. The move is welcome recognition from this Government of the seriousness of loneliness as a health issue and highlights the willingness to tackle it.

ALONE CEO, Seán Moynihan, collaborated with Senator Keith Swanick to form the Loneliness Taskforce, an initiative to coordinate a response to loneliness and social isolation in Ireland. The Loneliness Taskforce endeavours to increase awareness about the issue and to achieve the implementation of a set of recommendations set out for Government, state agencies and all policy makers.

Seán Moynihan, said of the announcement, “Today’s news is a significant achievement for the Loneliness Taskforce and the ongoing work across Ireland to highlight the loneliness epidemic, which is affecting people of all age groups. ALONE is proud to have worked on this for more than a year with Senator Swanick and the other members of the Taskforce. Our work has highlighted just how important this is to people across Ireland and we welcome the Government’s response.”

Moynihan continued, “Loneliness can seriously impact your physical and mental health, and evidence has shown that older people experiencing high levels of loneliness are almost twice as likely to die within six years compared to those who are not lonely. It is vital to support grassroots community organisations which have emerged because they have witnessed, first-hand, the need to combat loneliness, and to ensure supports are community-led. Many organisations are already working on this and we must make sure these receive adequate support. The €3 million funding announced this morning will go a long way to ensure that this happens.”

Considering loneliness and social isolation as one of the greatest public health risks today, the charity was grateful for a productive discussion with Minister Daly held in the Seanad recently and was glad to see the support for this issue and discussion points taken on board.

Moynihan commented, “Minister Daly has demonstrated considerable support for the work of ALONE and the Loneliness Taskforce over the last year and more. We are pleased to see that the issue of loneliness, under the heading of ‘civic connectedness’ will now be recognized under his remit as Minister for Mental Health. There is much work still to be done in research, campaigning and on other Loneliness Taskforce recommendations over the coming months and years but we hope that this just the beginning of this journey.”

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie.

ENDS

About the Loneliness Taskforce
The Loneliness Taskforce was established by Senator Keith Swanick in collaboration with the CEO of ALONE, Seán Moynihan, to coordinate a response to the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation in Ireland. Members of the Taskforce include Professor John Hillery, Justin McNulty MLA, Professor Brian Lawlor, Dr Eddie Murphy, Professor Roger O’Sullivan, Sabrina McEntee, Sinead Dooley, Anne Lynott and Sean Gallagher.

About ALONE
Established in 1977, ALONE supports older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing. ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to over 1,000 older people nationwide every week. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

For more information contact:
Lauren Freir, Limelight Communications, Lauren.freir@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 087 238 0853
Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, kathryn.byrne@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 085 233 6033