“The biggest issue by far in our society is the plague of loneliness.”
So what was happening during the lockdown’s? Who was looking after the vulnerable, the lonely and those in need of help and assistance?
Here we shine a spotlight on Emly born Regina Ryan, a member of the Head Office Administrative Staff of Muintir na Tire in Tipperary Town and secretary of Lattin, Cullen, Solohead Text Alert.
During Covid, Regina, who now lives in Tipperary Town, was assigned an additional role of ‘Community Champion’ for County Tipperary. The role was an initiative of Irish Rural Link and The Wheel, with one person allocated to each county in Ireland.
In this role, Regina experienced first-hand the difficulties individuals and families faced during the lockdowns.
“While my colleague Leanne Wills and I are mainly office based, we have acquired much knowledge of the needs of the groups on the ground. This was never more apparent than during the days of the Covid lockdown and my additional role of Community Champion for Co. Tipperary.”
“What struck me most during the three months was the sheer loneliness, isolation and dare I say dreadful fear that people were feeling, particularly those living alone. My main priority was to ensure, where at all possible, that no person went without basic needs such as fuel, food and medication,” said Regina.
“This often involved me contacting An Garda Siochana and organizations Alone, Pieta House, the HSE, Tipperary County Council, Community Alert groups, Meals on Wheels and in some instances, heading out myself when the need arose, something that I was more than happy to do.”
“Probably the greatest satisfaction came about from simply responding to a person’s need, to just have a chat and lend a friendly ear offering reassurance when it was needed. I continue to interact with some of my new ‘Covid Friends’ to this day.”
“What I have learned and observed since the initial lockdown is that the biggest issue by far in our society is the plague of loneliness. Hopefully with the reopening of Day Care facilities and likewise facilities the problem will be reduced before we face the winter months.”
Through the years there have been many initiatives developed by Muintir na Tire but probably the best- known one in recent years is the Community Alert programme. Community Alert is active throughout the 26 Counties and is mainly rural based. There are approximately 1,200 branches of Community Alert assisted by five development officers. The Head Office Administrative Staff in Tipperary Town coordinate all programmes, including the Be Alert text programme.
Regina continues her role as Head Office Administrative Staff of Muintir na Tire in Tipperary Town, but her additional role as Community Champion has now ended.
“Thank you to everybody who assists me in helping people. You are invaluable to your community. I’m still available to offer guidance and support in any way I can and if I’m not in a position to solve the problem myself, I can certainly point people in the right direction.”
You can contact Regina at Muintir na Tire in Tipperary Town on: 062- 51163