Helpline has received 1,500 calls during cold spell
A SPECIALLY dedicated helpline to assist vulnerable and elderly people across the country has received more than 1,500 calls since the Arctic conditions arrived.
President of Muintir na Tire Martin Quinn said the service was proving to be invaluable to many in all regions.
With the return of heavy snow at the end of last week, the helpline was reactivated.
"During the peak times, we would be taking a call a minute. Peak times would be when the weather is worse. Most definitely, things are very busy when the weather is worse and hopefully we are helping people out there who need it," Mr Quinn said.
"Many callers are trapped in their homes and require supplies of groceries, fuel and medication. Other people are experiencing difficulties with frozen pipes and heating problems," he said.
"As the weather would improve, the calls would ease off. We found this especially a fortnight ago when the weather was very bad and then the thaw arrived," Mr Quinn said.
More than 1,400 groups across the country are affiliated with Muintir na Tire -- a national voluntary organisation which promotes community development.
"Thankfully, we are also getting a lot of people volunteering their services to us. They ring and ask what they can do to help out so that is gratefully appreciated. We are finding there is a good community spirit across the country," he said.
Mr Quinn said anyone who needed help or support should contact the helpline. "Every effort will be made to ensure that help is provided to them as speedily as possible."
The Tipperary man also appealed for people to check regularly on their neighbours and friends and ensure that they had adequate supplies and good heating in their homes.
"Christmas is almost upon us and, notwithstanding the weather, this can also be a very lonely time for people. Please allow some extra time this Christmas to call on your neighbours as you may be the only personal contact that they will have over the Christmas period," he said.
Muintir Na Tire's helpline can be accessed on 086-6000751.