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Rural and Community Development | Isolation and services in urban and rural communities

To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she continues to liaise with urban and rural communities with a view to addressing such concerns as isolation and the ongoing need for services to address the issues arising; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


The issue of isolation in rural and urban communities cuts across the work of a number of Departments. The need to address isolation in communities was highlighted more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

My Department provides funding to tackle isolation and support those in our communities in most need of assistance through schemes such as the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), Community Services Programme, Seniors Alert Scheme, and CLÁR.

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is Ireland’s primary social inclusion funding intervention and is delivered locally by Local Development Companies (LDCs) who help those in the greatest need to access supports.

My Department is also responsible for the Seniors Alert Schemewhichassists older people to live securely, with peace of mind, in their homes through the provision of personal monitored alarms, ensuring contact is maintained with those who are vulnerable.

The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports over 420 community organisations to provide employment opportunities and deliver local social, economic and environmental services that tackle disadvantage.  

In 2021, under the CLÁR Programme, an Innovation Measure was announced designed to support communities in delivering projects that assist with issues such as rural isolation, population decline and social disadvantage.

My Department also provides supports for social enterprises, many of which are based in rural or isolated areas and provide services to communities that may not otherwise be available.

My Department continues to engage with stakeholders and monitor issues impacting on communities in order to respond to the emerging needs of people in communities right across the country.

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