‘Security and friendship of neighbours is vital’

Neighbours will get the opportunity to greet, meet and chat for the first time or reacquaint themselves

The Irish are famous for their wit, intelligence and negotiation skills, as was displayed in Brussels just over a year ago by Minister Coveney and his team with the new CAP.

However, what are we like as neighbours?

The answer is “friendly and approachable”, according to a Macra survey.

Its findings revealed that nine out of ten people said they know their neighbours.

Additionally six out of ten said they interact with them regularly.

So the community spirit for which we are world renowned is still alive today. Getting to know your neighbours and being involved in your local community ensures that a person has a sense of security and togetherness.

Neighbours are the friends who live next door, bring in packages when you’re not home, lend you their lawnmower and are there in a pinch.

Communities across Ireland have, in recent times, been negatively affected by the loss of local services like post offices and Garda stations and have felt the loss of local young people to emigration.

It’s times like these that make the security and friendship of neighbours vital.

Know Your Neighbour Weekend is all about getting together with your friends to do something fun and engaging in your local community. It provides an opportunity to get talking to someone who lives nearby, but you may not have had the opportunity to meet them before.

Alternatively you can catch up friends down the road to see what is happening in their lives. Community groups like Macra clubs, and individuals, will be organising events in villages, towns and cities over the weekend of July 12 and 13 and beyond. These events and activities will afford neighbours the opportunity to greet, meet and chat for the first time or as a way to reacquaint themselves with those nearby.

We need to be cognisant of the fact that many young people have left their local communities to find work and new friends abroad. In fact, a 2012 poll carried out by the NYCI highlighted that more than a quarter of Irish families had been affected by emigration in the previous two years with a shocking 308,000 people emigrating in the four years before the poll.

There is no community untouched by emigration.

With this in mind we chose the following theme this year, ‘Neighbours – Near and Far’, in recognition of our many neighbours living abroad. We are asking communities to make a special effort this year to try and include their neighbours living abroad.

With technology, these neighbours are nearer than ever — why not skype your neighbours at the event and give everyone a chance to say hello and share a cup of tea across the electronic superhighway?

Another option would be to send them a postcard signed by all their neighbours and friends at home letting them know they’re still part of the gang at home.

I’d urge you to consider holding an event this summer with your neighbours and friends and if you want further details please check out our website ‘knowyourneighbour.ie’ to find out what’s happening near you and go along.

See www.macra.ie and www.knowyourneighbour.ie


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