Irish Rural Link are urging people to heed the new measures announced by An Taoiseach this evening, 27th March and to stay at home and asking neighbours of elderly and vulnerable people to phone them and ensure they are safe. Full press statement here
Press & Events
The Government announced yesterday, 24th March, new measures in relation to going outdoors during COVID-19 pandemic. Due to overcrowding of public parks, beaches, popular walking sites, playgrounds, many of these are now closed or there is an increase presence of Park Rangers and Gardai at these sites. It is still important to get out during self isolation, for both physical and mental health, but we must take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of others and maintain the recommended 2 metre distance from others. Leave No Trace have developed a set of guidelines to help people to get out and enjoy the outdoors while maintaining social distance. These include;
Plan Ahead – Check weather, bring proper clothing and footwear, water and food. Park and walk responsibly.
Expect Closures – Before leaving home, consider lack of usual facilities such as toilets, shops, cafes, restaurants.
Stay Home or Local – Unwell? Don’t go! Feeling well? Look for local trails, hidden gems, explore closer to home.
Be Considerate: Maintain social distancing throughout the day – at least 2 metres apart. There is plenty of space in the outdoors for everyone!
Time and Place: Find those hidden gems, avoid peak times, avoid difficult routes. Adhere to HSE guidelines.
Leave No Trace: Don’t rely on or add to already overburdened services. Bring your own rubbish home.
Be Dog Responsible: Keep dogs under control. Mind out for young wildlife. Pick up and bring home dog waste.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection announced yesterday, 24th March, new rates of social welfare payments for those impacted by COVID-19. These include;
- a temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax
- workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203) If you have already applied before the 24th of March or are already in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment you do not need to do anything. Your next payment will be paid at the increased rate.
- the COVID-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week
- the self-employed will be eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (rather than the Revenue scheme)
- enhanced protections for people facing difficulties with their mortgages, rent or utility bills
The Department’s COVID-19 Income Support Helpline is open 9am-5pm on 01-2481398/1890-800-024. Please DO NOT visit your local Intreo Office
The Department of Social Protection have made special arrangements for Social Welfare Payments including State Pension during the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of these include:
– Post Office Payments will be available for collection for 90 days.
– Weekly payments will change to fortnightly from this week. You will receive 1 payment to cover 2 weeks.
– You can appoint a temporary agent to collect your weekly payment. Forms are available at some post offices or you can download here
The temporary agent must bring the form to the Post Office signed by the welfare recipient with the person’s Public Service Card and a form of ID. A form must be signed each time the agent collects on behalf of someone.
– All signing at Intreo offices has been suspended.
Full information is available on Departments website on https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-employment-affairs-and-social-protection/?referrer=/deasp/
Irish Rural Link (IRL) – the national network representing the interest of rural communities is welcoming the launch by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Minister Michael Ring, of the COVID-19 Government Action Plan to Support Community Response. A new helpdesk for community and voluntary group has been set up and can be emailed on email@example.com. Full press release is available here.
The coming weeks and possibly months will be challenging for everyone but can be more difficult for the elderly and vulnerable who live alone. While people and communities are being urged to help out and check in with their elderly neighbours, many voluntary groups across the country have begun to mobilise their members to help out on different initiatives. However, some precaution needs to be taken with regard the safety and welfare of elderly people living alone and other vulnerable people. IRL have developed a set of guidelines for community groups mobilising volunteers over the coming days a week. The set of protocols are available to download here