Garda Inspector welcomes establishment of Donegal’s new Community Response Helpline

Donegal community urged to comply with Government’s coronavirus guidelines

Garda Inspector Sean Grant has praised the “positive community interaction” which prompted a man in Donegal, concerned about his neighbour’s welfare, to contact local Gardaí.

The Buncrana man believed his neighbour’s personal alarm, which she wore around her neck, was not working. The lady, who was 89-years-old suffered from mild stage Alzheimer’s and her neighbour feared for her safety as she lived alone in a rural area of the community.

Gardaí attended the scene and firstly ensured that the lady was OK. They then contacted the company responsible for the alarm, and after some two hours of toing and froing, being passed from one operator to another, they managed to arrange for a technician to call with her the following morning.

The lady’s personal alarm and phone line were subsequently fixed and Gardai now call to ensure this lady is safe and well each day.

According to local Gardai, the reassurance this lady got knowing she was in good hands, and that help was just the touch of a button away was all she needed to brighten her day.

Speaking to Donegal Live, Inspector Sean Grant said: “From the point of view of An Garda Síochána, the incident shows the positive community interaction that is ongoing during the current coronavirus crisis.

“It reinforces the good community spirit of people referring issues to us as well where they see that people need a bit of help as well.

“If you are concerned for a family member, neighbour or vulnerable person in this difficult time, please don't hesitate to contact your local Garda Station we are happy to help,” said Inspector Grant.

Inspector Grant also welcomed the establishment of Donegal’s new Community Response Helpline (1800928982).

He added: “The new Donegal Community Response Helpline is coordinated by Donegal County Council and includes more than 20 agencies, including An Garda Síochána.

“I would encourage people to contact it when they need assistance. The Helpline is there to help people in the current climate, and I would encourage people, where they need assistance or maybe where they know where people need assistance, not to hesitate to use it. We want to reinforce the ‘stay at home’ message at the minute, to cut down on the number of people out unnecessarily at this time.

“As part of the stay at home message, we would be advocating that this particular Easter Week is not a holiday period. We would ask people to reflect if their journeys are absolutely essential and within the government guidelines.

“We need people to keep that focus and ‘stay safe’ this week. Use other resources. Individuals have a responsibility to keep their families safe and to minimise risk to themselves and the community,” said Inspector Grant.

Inspector stressed the “partnership approach” between An Gardai and the community.

He added: “An Gardaí Síochána are there to help but we will also increase our visibility this week. There will be increased community interactions at checkpoints, and we will be challenging people if it is suspected they are in contravention with government advice.

“There will be good community interaction. We are trying to work with people. We are here to help. However, we will intervene too. It is important to try and keep people safe and ensure they are complying with Government coronavirus guidelines and their travel is essential.

“We would ask people to continue to be vigilant but, more importantly, this weekend, to stay at home and stay safe. People need to take individual responsibility for their actions as well minimise risk to their family and their community and abide by Government restrictions and An Garda will be out in force to ensure people adhere to them,” said Inspector Grant.

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