Last week, the Community Minister wrote to hundreds of community groups funded through the Local and Community Development Programme urging them to "keep in regular contact with people who may find themselves housebound to ensure that they have sufficient supplies of food and heat etc."
Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Pat Carey said "if other interventions are required, the relevant local statutory agency e.g. the HSE should be contacted immediately so that the necessary help and assistance can be obtained."
A lot of groups would already have been helping out in various ways, as projects did in Cork during the floods and subsequent water shortages last year.
Minister Carey in his letter described the assistance by community groups as "invaluable" and said the community sector is "uniquely placed" to help out.
The media only pick up on weather-related deaths on the roads, but who knows how many people have died quietly in their homes from the cold or related illnesses this year.
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