Loneliness Taskforce calls for €3 million annual funding to combat loneliness

PRESS RELEASE

‘A Connected Ireland’ Report launched in the Royal College of Surgeons today

13/6/18 Prof Brian Lawlor, St Vincents Hospital, Justin McNulty, SDLP MLA Newry and Armagh, Dr Eddie Murphy, Psychologist, Sinead Dooley, Deputy CEO Irish Rural Link, Dr Keith Swanick, Spokesperson on Health and Mental Health in the Seanad, Sean Moynihan, CEO Alone, Sabrina McEntee, Youthreach, Cavan at the launch of the Connected Ireland Report by the Loneliness Taskforce at the Royal College of Surgeons, which calling for 3 million euro annual funding be maid available by the Government to combat loneliness. Picture:Arthur Carron

 

Dublin, 13th June 2018: The Loneliness Taskforce has launched its report recommending that the Government take action on loneliness in the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) today.

The report, titled ‘A Connected Ireland’, recommends that annual funding of €3 million be put towards combating loneliness; responsibility to combat loneliness is allocated to a specific Minister and Government department; a public campaign is undertaken; support is offered to initiatives and organisations which alleviate loneliness as their primary function; an action plan for volunteering is initiated; and Irish-specific research on loneliness is undertaken.

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. 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.

The Taskforce received more than 300 submissions 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.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said at the launch, “We urge all members of Government not just to read this report, but to act on the recommendations we have made. The submissions to the Taskforce included hundreds of ideas for recommendations to the Government to address loneliness. The level of interest in the work of the Taskforce shows how vital this issue is to the people of Ireland.”

Moynihan continued, “We have recommended that €3 million in funding be provided annually to alleviate loneliness, but this is just the beginning. We need research, campaigning, and support for initiatives which address loneliness to be implemented now and for the foreseeable future. I hope that this conversation and the actions the Taskforce has started will continue well after this initial funding is spent.”

Chairperson of the Loneliness Taskforce, Dr Keith Swanick said, “The goal of reducing unnecessary loneliness and isolation is a challenge, but it is achievable.”

He continued, “As a nation, Ireland is ageing with the percentage of people over 70 growing faster than the rest of the population. It was very evident from the submissions that loneliness is not confined to the old and the rise in single-person households plus the increased pressures on young people are also contributing to the risk of loneliness.”

The report, which lays out a vision for “an Ireland free from loneliness”, was launched by the members of the Taskforce at an event attended by members of the Oireachtas, local authority representatives and members of the NGO sector.

The full report is available here: The Loneliness Taskforce – A Connected Island

ENDS

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