Bere Island self-isolates as residents ask for no visitors

An island community off the south-west coast has asked people not to visit, as part of an effort to protect the elderly living there.

Bere Island self-isolates as residents ask for no visitors

An island community off the south-west coast has asked people not to visit, as part of an effort to protect the elderly living there.

Bere Island Projects Group (BIPG), which oversees many of the activities on the island, made the appeal after discussions with the local ferry company and health professionals.

BIPG co-ordinator John Walsh said the permanent population of the island is around 160. About a third are elderly and a number have underlying health issues.

He said that some day-trippers are still coming to the island, even though its two pubs and three restaurants are now closed. The local community centre has also closed, and those who operate out of it are working from home.

He said they were trying to discourage visitors and also limit the number of trips islanders have to make to the mainland.

“We can email Murphy’s SuperValu in Castletownbere with a list of shopping and they will bring them down to the ferry,” Mr Walsh said.

We have a community bus on the island and we can use this to drop off supplies.

He added that the island also has an Active Age scheme with a list of people willing to do messages and jobs for the elderly, as well as a strong active retirement group which would also be mustered to help.

It’s not all doom and gloom however, because while people may be self-isolating the group is doing the best it can to lift their spirits.

“We’re used to dealing with problems,” Mr Walsh said.

BIPG used its community radio to broadcast Sunday Mass from Castletownbere for the islanders. He said teachers on the island were also linking up with pupils via the radio station and providing them with study tips.

“We also hope to get some motivational speakers to appear on it,” said Mr Walsh.

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