Prompted by the COVID-19 crisis, a group of over 20 NGOs, facilitated by Community Work Ireland, have been meeting online to share information on COVID-19 related issues and challenges and the responses needed to mitigate the consequences for the already marginalised groups and communities that they represent.
While these organisations are diverse in terms of their own specific focus, what we share is a concern to ensure that those who are most marginalised and socially excluded are not further disadvantaged by the current crisis.
We acknowledge the huge challenges facing all of us at this very difficult time and collectively commend and support the enormous efforts on the part of Government, government departments, local authorities, state agencies, civil and public servants, and in particular the Department of Health, HSE, the NPHET and associated COVID-19 committees, as well as the courageous health carers at every level and others in seeking to deal with the multitude of complex and diverse medical, social, environmental and economic concerns that this pandemic is causing.
Notwithstanding these efforts, we wish to highlight a number of areas where additional supports or resources might be required to meet the specific needs of communities that are at particular risk of COVID-19 related vulnerabilities.
In that context, this document sets out:
Some of the positive developments to date that the organisations represented on the COVID-19 NGO group have contributed to in partnership with state agencies.
Issues, challenges and recommendations to contribute to the efforts to flatten the curve of the virus within these particularly vulnerable communities and therefore across the population more broadly
Recommendations for measures to ensure that we avoid the accumulation of social and economic problems for the future, particularly amongst communities experiencing poverty, inequality, discrimination and social exclusion.