5 Heroic Irish Communities Making a Difference
19 Mar 2020
It’s hard not to be concerned about the impact of the Coronavirus. While there can be no denying the difficulties which this pandemic has brought to our shores, there is also no denying the unbreakable spirit of Irish people. There are so many heroes who are at the coalface in leading Ireland’s response to this pandemic. This would include doctors, nurses, Gardai, catering staff, retailers, delivery drivers, hauliers who have all gone
However, it’s not just professionals who have played a critical role. Let’s shine a light on how individuals, groups and local communities are organising themselves to help to make a real difference in fighting this pandemic.
Here are five examples:
1. Na Fianna Community Assistance Programme
The footballers and hurlers from the Na Fianna club in Dublin have, like GAA teams across the country, had their training and matches cancelled.
Instead of staying at home and maybe firing up a games console, they have decided to make a difference in their community. Led by senior footballer Niall McGovern, they have set up a community assistance programme designed to support elderly or vulnerable people in their area.
Five players are on call each evening to deliver medication, pick up groceries or to run an errand for someone less able in their community. Read more about their amazing efforts here.
2. Virtual Patrick’s Day Parades
With the Government’s decision to restrict mass gatherings of people, St. Patrick’s Day parades across the country had to be cancelled. This led to a lot of disappointed children who had been planning to participate in and watch their local parade.
However, all was not lost. Families across the country decided to have their own miniature parades and decorate their front windows with posters and flags. RTE picked up on the emerging trend and the hashtag #RTEVirtualParade was born. Videos and photos of parades, singsongs and dancing were shared throughout the day, with RTE News showing some of the more ‘interesting’ clips on the Six One News.
Picking up on the iconic video of Italians singing from their balconies, Caitriona Skelly from Balbriggan in Dublin created a Facebook group to encourage people to sing ‘Ireland’s Call’ from their homes at 3pm on St. Patrick’s Day. The group amassed more than 48,000 members. While there were a large number of reported rousing renditions of Phil Coulter’s ditty, we’re not quite sure it reached the heights of the ‘Fratelli d'Italia’.
3. Be on Call for Ireland
In recent days, Minister for Health, Simon Harris issued a massive recruitment call for doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff. He especially reached out to Irish healthcare workers abroad, encouraging them to consider returning to Ireland to help to manage the huge demands being placed on the healthcare system due to the Coronavirus.
The reaction to this call has been huge. For example, speaking to Mary Wilson on RTE’s Drivetime radio programme on St. Patrick’s Day, Dr. Anthony O’Connor from the IMO’s Consultant Committee revealed that 25 Irish health professionals in Perth in Australia had already resigned their jobs with the intention of returning to Ireland to play their part in the battle against the Coronavirus.
You can find out more about the HSE’s Be on Call for Ireland at www.hse.ie/oncall
4. Feed the Heroes
Dublin based duo, Cian O’Flaherty and Tad McAllister, wanted to do something to recognise and support the thousands of healthcare staff working on the front line to lead the country’s efforts to tackle the Coronavirus. To provide a small thank you to healthcare staff, the group set up a Go Fund Me page to pay for meals for healthcare workers in hospitals across Ireland.
Within 72 hours of setting up the fund, more than €188,000 has been raised.
Follow their efforts at https://www.gofundme.com/f/feed-the-heroes
5. Self Isolation Help
The critical importance of self-isolation in combating the Coronavirus pandemic has been spelled out to all of us. This is particularly important for the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions. But how can those people who are self-isolating manage to get food, medicine and other essentials, particularly if they do not have family or friends living in the immediate area?
Twitter powerhouse Samantha Kelly (@tweetinggoddess), supported by Helen O’Rahilly @HelenORahilly, identified the power of local communities to provide support to those in self isolation. Using the hashtag #selfisolationhelp, they encouraged twitter users who needed help to use the hashtag and reference their local area.
The campaign quickly gathered momentum and soon thousands of people were reaching out with offers of support int their local areas. Another Twitter user, Jonathan Randall (@MrJRan) has now created a map at https://randall.ie/help/ to highlight where people can offer or avail of self-isolation support.
The Power of People
Across the island, thousands of people are selflessly doing what they can to play their part in tackling this terrible virus. Whatever the damage wreaked by Corona, it has certainly served as a reminder to all of us about the power of community. Corona may be a pandemic, but the effect of ordinary people pulling together to help each other is an incredibly powerful force.
Credit unions across the island are also playing a key part in supporting people through this financially troubling time.
Click here to find contact details of your local credit union.