Senator Rebecca Moynihan: We need social bubbles
On Wednesday evening, the Government announced a ban on all household visits.
We know we need to limit our interaction and halt the spread of the virus. But we don’t need to cut people living alone off from all social contact. The rules need to show compassion and acknowledge the different kinds of households that people are living in today.
In the 2016 census, 400,000 people in Ireland were living alone, with another 200,000 living in single parent families. We need to take account of this large section of the population and not contribute unnecessarily to their loneliness and isolation.
That’s why I’m calling on the Government to introduce social bubbles.
A social bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home and one other household of any size. This would allow a household to form a bubble with a parent, relative or friend living alone.
Social bubbles have been used successfully in the UK and New Zealand and have been shown to not only reduce loneliness and improve mental health, but to also combat the spread of coronavirus through emphasising the need for exclusivity and a defined group of social contacts.
I’ve written about this issue on The Journal today. You can read the full article here. Please share it with anyone you think may be interested.
I also appeared on RTE’s Drivetime to discuss the proposal. You can listen back here.
It looks like we’re facing into another few weeks or months of increased restrictions. We need to make sure we’re taking care of the people who need it and who were forgotten about during the last lockdown.
In solidaritySenator Rebecca Moynihan