Newport-based Independent councillor John “Rocky” McGrath has urged clubs, community groups and individuals to be more vigilant and to look out for elderly and vulnerable individuals over the festive season.
Cllr McGrath, Lowry Team, stated that rural isolation, coupled with cold weather and increased burglaries, was a very serious concern at this time of the year, and it was important that communities pulled together to look out for the elderly.
“While most people love the festive season, for the elderly in our community it can be a difficult, lonely or even worrying time. Many of us live in rural issues that traditionally have had very low crime rates and would have a tradition of having a strong community spirit and an ethos of looking out for each other,” he said.
However, Cllr McGrath pointed out that, in recent times, and due to cutbacks in Garda resources, these rural areas, which by their nature were isolated, were now being targeted by criminals.
“Given the drastic increase in burglaries in rural areas, many of our elderly are living in fear and feel very exposed and vulnerable. The recent reports of the horrendous burglary in Killenaule has sparked huge concern. Many people do not feel safe in their own homes. It is important that we are vigilant, report any suspicious activity and call in regularly to check on the elderly,” he said.
Highlighting the role the country’s network of clubs and groups had, he urged urge these to be on the lookout, whether in travelling to training or attending a meeting.
“There is also the issue of fuel poverty during the winter months. I have met older people who say that they go to bed early or stay in bed during the day simply to stay warm,” siad Cllr McGrath.