Local Public Services and Trade Unions through the Covid Pandemic: The Case of the Community Call

With the imposition of social distancing and stay-at-home rules, the Covid-19 outbreak has posed major challenges to the welfare and well-being of the most vulnerable and isolated within local communities. The Community Call national initiative of Ireland precisely sought to break the isolation of single households and to support the most vulnerable throughout the public health emergency. Community Call showcases a nation-wide initiative channeled via local government services and the voluntary sector to deliver a community-driven, solidarity-based response to the social hardship caused by the pandemic. Through this initiative - with the help of local government staff, trade unions and the community - Irish local councils were able to provide home social welfare services at no additional cost for the public purse. The initiative strengthened community bonds and has enhanced social cohesion, resilience and preparedness in case of future emergencies.

This brief was written by Daria Cibrario (PSI) and Mai Nagata (University of Erfurt) between February-March 2022. It largely draws on the interviews conducted by PSI with Brendan O’Brien, Sector Organiser Local Authorities Sector, SIPTU; Dessie Robinson, National Secretary, Local Government Division, FÓRSA; and Adrian Kane, Divisional Organiser, Public Administration & Community Division on 17 February 2022.