By Keith Bourke
Mayo communities, clubs and organisations have rallied to provide support and assistance to the most vulnerable in their midst as the full impact of Covid-19 restrictions are felt across the county.
The local authority has compiled a map and inventory of groups and organisations that are prepared to lend a hand to people who need help and support. It is available at www.mayo.ie.
The Department of Rural and Community Development has engaged with organisations involved in working with communities and those in high-risk groups to develop a protocol on how best to ensure that the most vulnerable continue to be cared for in a safe and secure way. This protocol outlines measures to be taken to help those who are elderly and living alone and other vulnerable people during the Covid-19 outbreak, while at the same time maintaining their security and safety as they self-isolate.
Community groups, sporting organisations, businesses and individuals have joined in the efforts right across the county.
Collect and delivery services for essential items have been established, businesses are offering free deliveries and discounts to the elderly, while GAA clubs – the lifeblood of many areas in the county – are mobilising their members to help those who may find themselves isolated at home.
Belmullet-based coach operator William Barrett is offering free transport for healthcare workers, particularly those working long shifts.
“Nobody has taken me up on it just yet but that might not happen until there is a full lockdown. The offer will always be there. I have a sister working in the health service and I know the work that they do,” said Mr Barrett, adding that he has received enquires from healthcare workers in Co Cork who did not realise he was located so far away.
Michael Phillips of Phillips Menswear and Phillips Shoes in Ballyhaunis is another businessperson willing to lend a hand.
“We are offering to collect food, prescriptions, fuel anything like that for people who are isolated, feel they can’t get out or are afraid to get out,” said Michael. “This is a time of crisis and we just want to do our part. This is a great community and people have been very good to us over the years,” he added.
Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh said this sense of community and compassion will help us come through the outbreak.
“We have the kindness, care and compassion that is deeply rooted in the Irish nature which will help us to prevail as we navigate through the Covid-19 crisis.”