Community Forums to deliver vital help during coronavirus cocooning in Ireland

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

coronavirus covid-19

Community Forum to be led by local authorities in Laois and other counties

County councils are to lead Covid-19 Community Response Forums around Ireland to deliver essential services to vulnerable and elderly people in the community as part of the cocooning initiative during the coronavirus lockdown.

In daily briefing on the government's response on Saturday Elizabeth Canavan, Assistant Secretary, Department of the Taoiseach, outlined what would happen.

"Chaired and coordinated by each local authority chief executive, the Forum will consist of the HSE, the council, county champions, An Post, Community Welfare Service, An Garda Siochana, other State organisations, charities and other stakeholders. It will lead the coordination of COVID-19 community supports and resilience in each area.

She said the forums will provide the following services:

- Collection and delivery of food, essential household items, fuel, medication in line with guidance
- Transport to community testing centres, clinical Assessment Hubs, GP and hospital appointments
- Social isolation, supports, engagement
- Meals and their delivery
- Other medical/health needs
- There will be a community support helpline/call centre operating from early morning to late evening, 7 days per week, in every local authority. It will be cross-referenced by the Alone National Helpline.

Ms Canavan explained how the forums have come to be set up.

"In light of the further Covid-19 measure announced by an Taoiseach, particularly around cocooning requirements for certain vulnerable members of the community, Minister Murphy, wrote to all local authority chief executives last night, requesting that they immediately operationalise the Framework for Local Authority Community Support and put the helplines and support structures in place over the weekend.

"Arising from this, the City and County Management Association met early this morning and the Local Authority Community Response Forum will meet in every local authority area to coordinate and ramp up work to help ensure all vulnerable members of our communities affected by these new arrangements are appropriately supported," she said.