Need to help the poor at home and abroad

December 13th, 2020 8:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – Since the shock of the pandemic first hit home, we’ve consistently agreed on the importance of looking after each other, especially the most vulnerable in our society. For the most part we do this through social protection measures, increased allocations to health, economic supports such as to help businesses to move online. State supports are augmented by voluntary support, including donations, where possible.

At first glance, it might appear that as a nation right now, we’re exclusively internally focused. And, while it is true to an extent, it’s definitely not the full picture.

Every day, I see the despair experienced by people in lower-income countries where, although the social fabric is as strong as ours, the essential state supports available to us in Ireland are not available to them. And where many people are living on the margins, doing their best for their families and communities.

Being acutely concerned about those closer to home has not resulted in Irish people throwing off their long-standing commitment and care for vulnerable children and adults outside these shores. Irish people continue actively to care about the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable people in the world at this difficult time.

I can vouch that people in Cork have been stepping up all year, and especially this Christmas, to support people desperately in need at these most difficult times. No doubt right now many people are supporting deserving local, and international causes.

I get to witness the very best of these qualities and values in action and I extend sincere thanks to those people who value solidarity and who actively care for others far from these shores.

As Ireland steps up to assume a role on the UN Security Council in a month’s time, we are a people firmly connected with the wider world. As other nations are choosing to turn inwards and retrench, we as citizens, and as a State, continue to choose to make real, meaningful contributions to improving lives here as well as beyond these shores.

Let’s value that global outlook, standing with those in need, wherever they happen to be. Let’s applaud our solidarity and humanitarian values, promoting peace, freedom, sustainability and social justice in the world.

Siobhán McGee,

Chief Executive,

ActionAid Ireland,

Granby Place, Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

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