08 Aug 2022

Food, fuel, and prescriptions the big three issues as calls to Kilkenny helpline rise

'There’s been a huge response from the community. It’s incredibly heartwarming'


Requests to help with or deliver food, fuel, or prescription medication were the three main issues for people calling the line (1800-500000)

There were 60 calls made to Kilkenny’s new Covid-19 community helpline on Monday, with that number expected to rise in the coming days.

Requests to help with or deliver food, fuel, or prescription medication were the three main issues for people calling the line (1800-500000).  There have also been several queries regarding transport of people and vulnerable patients. Nationally, up to Sunday night, almost 5,000 calls were received by the various local authority helplines during the same timeframe.

“Obviously, we are only getting a sample of the needs out there, because some people are calling GAA clubs, gardaí directly,” says Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere.

“We are expecting the number of calls to rise as the week goes on. The important thing for people to know is we now have the database and the infrastructure in place — we have volunteers in every part of the county.

“Anyone who rings in will be helped. We are encouraging people to keep in contact.”

In many cases, people are seeking information or simply looking for clarity on the new restrictions. For example, a man in his 70s whose wife is in her 60s, wondering if it is permissible to drive her to the local shop.

“Even if it is just for advice, it is worth calling,” says Cllr Cleere. “Things are changing so fast it can be hard to keep up.”

Many shops and large retailers are working hard to offer a delivery service, however, in some cases it might take several days for an order to arrive. The helpline has many volunteers delivering essentials to people in their homes.

Cllr Cleere also paid tribute to those volunteers who have stepped up to the mark in recent weeks.

“We are inundated with volunteers — there’s been a huge response from the community,” he said. “It’s incredibly heartwarming to see that kind of spirit and people willing to do their bit.

“One thing I have also noticed is there is a real sense of family and community there. People’s priorities have changed. They are prepared to do a bit more for their patch, and it is inspiring.”

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