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Rural and Community Development | Addressing Social Isolation

To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she and her Department expect to be able to assist those suffering from social isolation in urban or rural settings in 2023; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


Addressing the issue of individual isolation in communities has become more important than ever before. Many of my Department’s policies and funding programmes aim to address social isolation issues in communities, and also deliver benefits by responding to the challenges facing vulnerable individuals.

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

SICAP is Ireland’s primary social inclusion funding intervention, delivered locally by Local Development Companies (LDCs) to help those in the greatest need access supports to enable participation in communities.

My Department’s Community Services Programme (CSP) currently supports over 420 community organisations to provide employment opportunities and local services through a social enterprise model.  The CSP focuses on communities where public and private sector services are lacking, either through geographical isolation or social isolation or because demand levels are not sufficient.

My Department is responsible for the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable them to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind. Funding is available under the Scheme towards the purchase, by a registered community-based organisation, of a personal alarm or pendant.

My Department is also responsible for a number of national policies containing measures to improve the lives of people throughout the country including Our Rural Future, which places an emphasis on building resilience and enhancing participation and inclusion in rural communities including older people and those with disabilities.  

The issue of social isolation is one which concerns us all and I am committed to continuing my Department’s response to this issue through continued delivery of relevant programmes and policies.

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