Security and Unemployment
Unemployment is the top issue facing communities in Ireland according to research looking into the community aspects of Irish life, conducted by Calor as part of Macra's Know Your Neighbour campaign. Unemployment topped the concerns at 18% with quality of roads at 9%, and then security, anti-social behaviour and access to medical services all coming in as the third highest issue at 8% each.
Females are marginally more concerned about security than males, and the figure increases to 10% amongst those over 45 years.
The research which also examined discrepancies between rural and urban communities found that one in three (34%) rural dwellers claim access to a Garda station is difficult, which is more than double the number of people (15%) making the same claim in urban areas. Rural dwellers also place more importance than urban dwellers on knowing your neighbours (63% versus 55%) though similar numbers claimed (46%) they would like to do more for their local community and (49%) are interested in “creating and maintaining close relationships with the people in the local community”.
Whilst the research shows a desire to forge closer communities, the findings also reveal a feeling of disenfranchisement where 41% of all respondents feel they are not an important part of the local community.
These findings reflect the premise of the Know Your Neighbour campaign which is to actively encourage Macra na Feirme members to engage with others in their community, especially the elderly. To this end, the autumn phase of the campaign involves hundreds of Calor Care Packs being distributed to Macra members containing everything needed for a chat over a cup of tea – two mugs, a pack of tea and a pack of biscuits.
Seán Finan, National President, Macra na Feirme said, “Macra members are active and enthusiastic members of the communities in which they reside. We are delighted to partner with Calor who are providing us with an opportunity to knock on our neighbours door, check if they need anything, and catch up over a cup of tea. A simple chat with your neighbour might provide the perfect opportunity to identify any problems that you can help with and provide comfort and friendship”.
Tom O’Carroll, CEO, Calor said, “as we near the colder winter months, it will be more important than ever to keep in contact with elderly neighbours”.