Valuable lessons to be learned from COVID-19 crisis – O’Loughlin

Published on: 06 April 2020

Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has said a light has been shone on the strength of communities as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Senator O’Loughlin was commenting following her election to Seanad Éireann and said the 33rd Dáil and 26th Seanad would be in many ways the most challenging since the formation of the State as the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis continues.

“I am delighted to have been elected to Seanad Éireann and I am very grateful for the support I received in Kildare.

“Having spent the past number of weeks speaking to Local Authority members the length and breadth of the country, I found their commitment to their communities very affirming. It’s something we have seen in all sectors of society in recent weeks.

“This crisis has brought out the very best in people and it is important that we maintain this long after the crisis has passed.

“We must remain cognisant of the fact however, that there are people suffering now more so than ever.

“I am acutely aware that there are vulnerable children struggling being at home during this time. School was the only constant in their lives, it’s where they had a schedule, they had warmth and food and they had a positive environment in which they were encouraged to thrive.

“There are women and men in volatile relationships feeling as though they have nowhere to turn. Anecdotally I have been told of massive increases in contacts with Women’s Aid and the Rape Crisis Centre.

“We must redouble our efforts to help these people in any way we can and when we get beyond this crisis, we must remember their vulnerability and provide tangible and meaningful supports for them.

“There are those who have had to watch from afar as their loved ones got sick and passed away from this lethal virus. They haven’t been able to celebrate the life of or mourn the death of their loved ones surrounded by family and friends as is so common of the typical Irish funeral.

“There are parents feeling terrible guilt for not maintaining a strict home-schooling schedule while trying to work their own regular hours from home. There are small country shops keeping their doors open for no other reason than to provide their local customers with supplies, they are watching the bigger supermarkets continue to make profits while they lose out.

“This is a very difficult time. There is a lot of distress and it’s important to work together to ease it. Once this virus passes, which we know it will, we need to remember the basic kindness which was a common feature of it.

“Checking in on neighbours, volunteering, going out of our way to help – they are the traits of a strong community”, she concluded.