Press Release

Caring for Rural Communities in Times of Change: A Church of Ireland Response’ Conference organised by the Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory Committee for Social Affairs on Saturday 12th October, 2013

The Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, Kathleen Lynch, T.D. was in Tipperary today to attend the “Caring for Rural Communities in Times of Change: A Church of Ireland Response” Conference organised by the Cashel, Ferns and Ossory Committee for Social Affairs. The aim of this conference is to provide attendees with information and ideas which can be implemented in their own communities.

Commenting on the Conference, Minister Lynch said “I very much welcome this Conference organised by the Church of Ireland. People living in rural communities experience the same stresses and worries similar to everyone else in the country. Rural life can, in particular, be associated with isolation and loneliness. Our mental health and well-being is an important aspect of all our lives and it must be recognised that we need to look after it just as much as our physical health.

This event gives us an ideal opportunity to raise public awareness, and promote open discussion about mental health issues, highlight changing attitudes in the community towards positive mental health, and most importantly of all encourage people in distress to seek help. I wish to stress, however, that notwithstanding the obvious changes that have taken place in rural communities over recent years, the fact remains that society in rural Ireland still retains its core values of care and concern for neighbours, particularly when compared to other countries. In my capacity as Minister, I am conscious also that the issues of care and concern equally apply to older people and those with disabilities, and the Government will continue to promote all aspects of care in rural communities”.