Over 300 submissions received as Taskforce coordinates a response to loneliness in Ireland
Dublin, 9th May 2018: The Loneliness Taskforce has had its first meeting today in Leinster House.
The Loneliness Taskforce was established by Dr. 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. Through its work, the Loneliness Taskforce is seeking to increase awareness about the issue and to produce a set of recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers.
Over 300 submissions have been received by the Taskforce sent from the general public, Oireachtas and Northern Ireland Assembly Members, MEPs, NGOs, Local Authorities, Public Participation Networks, and Volunteer Networks across the country, both North and South. The establishment of the Taskforce has created a much-needed national conversation on the loneliness and social isolation faced by people in Ireland.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “We have been overwhelmed at the level of interest and support the Taskforce has received from all over the country, and particularly the huge number of people who have offered their help.”
Moynihan continued, “We look forward to making progress with our report and presenting it to the Government, and we hope that meaningful action is taken as a result. Loneliness is not something to be brushed off – it is a public health issue, one that needs serious consideration.”
Chairperson of the Loneliness Taskforce, Dr Keith Swanick said, “As a GP, in my practice in rural Ireland, I often see the profound medical and mental health problems which are often exacerbated by loneliness. I am well aware however, that Loneliness crosses the rural-urban divide and I witnessed the same problems a number of years ago as a GP in the heart of Finglas.”
He continued, “Through the submissions we have received, the Taskforce has heard from people who are young, new parents, those who are divorced or a single parent, from people with disabilities, returning emigrants, home carers and entrepreneurs. We can say with certainty that loneliness never discriminates between young and old, rich and poor or urban and rural.”
The Loneliness Taskforce includes members from the education, sporting, nursing, psychology, business and academic sectors. It is hoped that the Taskforce will release their report with recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers in the summer.
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.
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