SIR – Most of us have had time to reflect over the last number of weeks. We have all embraced an alternative way of carrying out our daily tasks and, for many, this has meant working from home, self-isolating or cocooning.
Ultimately, Covid-19 has changed the perspective of many in relation to what is important in life, and this is evident in the overwhelming way communities have rallied to support each other since this pandemic began.
As someone who has been volunteering with grocery and medication deliveries the word ‘isolation’ has begun to resonate very strongly with me.
As I drive into any given yard, I have come to recognise that, in many instances, I am the only person that has spoken to the resident that day, or maybe even that week, and albeit the short conversation is taking place at a distance, you can instantly tell how much it is appreciated.
The issue of rural isolation has been highlighted constantly over the last number of years; however there is no parallel between reading the statistics and being faced with the reality. The constant decimation of rural Ireland has resulted in a generation that has little or no interaction with others in their communities.
West Cork is stunning and we are so lucky to live in such beautiful surroundings, however rural living presents a real life challenge for many and we need to be ever-cognisant of this.
I say this, not only as a public representative, but also as a long-standing community activist. We need to be more observant of those around us who are vulnerable at all times, not just at this difficult time.We need to continue to spotlight the issue of rural isolation and the very real impact it is having in the community.
Following my co-option to Cork County Council, I decided to have monthly clinics throughout the constituency, as I personally believe it is important to meet people face to face. Unfortunately the clinics are in abeyance for now.
However, in time, they will resume and, in addition, I will make a concerted effort to call in on those who may just need a friendly ear, and I believe many more will be of the same mind.
Cllr Deirdre Kelly,