To support the community response to COVID-19, the Government has launched an action plan in partnership with other government departments, state agencies and an extensive network of community and voluntary organisations.

The Government Action Plan was launched by Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, and Seán Canney TD, Minister for Community Development on 20 March, pictured above with Paul Reid, Chief Executive Officer of the HSE.

It sets out three key areas to initially focus on supporting a community response to COVID-19:

  • Letting people know how and where to volunteer, in partnership with Volunteer Ireland and our network of volunteer centres.
  • Providing funding to ALONE for their crisis telephone support line and follow through practical community supports for older people.
  • Launching an email helpdesk facility in the Dept of Rural and Community Development to assist smaller community groups with their queries.

Unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis requires the re-prioritisation, re-direction of activities and new contingency arrangements to maintain and support critical services, and new flexibilities in the use of resources in the community and voluntary sector, according to Minister Ring.

“We’re fortunate to have the people, organisations, systems and goodwill already in place and we will be supportive and flexible in our approach,” he added. His department’s Seniors Alert Scheme also provides monitored alarms for older people to enable them to live safely and securely in their homes.

Minister Canney said that with Public Participation Network, volunteer centres, sporting bodies, farming organisations, community councils and other stakeholders and agencies all in place, “our national community efforts will be co-ordinated for optimum effect. It’s now time to demonstrate once again our ability as a nation to help each other and look after the most vulnerable in our communities.”