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13 Aug 2022

Caring Offaly mother and son are 'Changing Ireland'

Caring Offaly mother and son are 'Changing Ireland'

Eileen Lucey being visited by Caroline Bryant from Mucklagh Community Development. INSET: Ray and Eileen Lucey

MOTHER and son, Eileen and Ray Lucey from Mucklagh, Tullamore, feature on the front cover of the latest edition of ‘Changing Ireland’, highlighting the role of carers and those receiving care across Ireland.

‘Changing Ireland’ is a national magazine about community development and social inclusion and it focuses on Offaly in its current edition with a number of local groups given credit for their work during the pandemic.

Ray Lucey has been writing for the Limerick-based magazine for the past 10 years.

“I never imagined interviewing my mum, never mind her appearing on the front cover. Then Covid-19 arrived on our shores and caring for those who are most vulnerable became the nation’s priority,” said Ray. He has been sending copies of the magazine to family and friends around Ireland and abroad.

The cover shows Eileen being visited by Caroline Bryant from Mucklagh Community Development.

As editor, Allen Meagher (formerly of the Midland Tribune) said, “There are 350,000 carers in the Republic of Ireland and they saved the country from being in a more precarious state due to Covid-19. This is clear from our report by Ray Lucey in Offaly where he and his mother Eileen speak from experience. Eileen kindly allowed him to turn his journalistic focus inwards and describe his life as a carer and to gently interview her as someone who receives care. Thankfully, well-embedded community supports make Eileen’s life comfortable and enable Ray to commute to work - essential to provide for his family.”

“We should be grateful to Ray and Eileen because this aspect of Irish life is usually hidden from view. Any of us could end up a carer, or being cared for. Whether or not we would receive a carer’s allowance is another story - see side column. “
Ray also talked to Family Carers Ireland, based in Tullamore. Their observations put the care provided for Eileen in a national context.

Eileen is delighted to feature on the front page.

“It was such a great boost. My mother is absolutely thrilled to see her coverage,” said Ray.

The magazine, publishing for the past 20 years and focusing on positive news from communities nationwide, also highlights the work of Offaly Local Development Company (OLDC) and includes an interview - again by Ray - with social inclusion co-ordinator Siobhan Broderick.

OLDC sprung into action early on in the pandemic, reaching people who were isolated - not everyone has mobile phone or an internet connection - and keeping them connected.

Siobhan said that the first lockdown highlighted “the plight of children experiencing disadvantage, of lone parents, working parents (childcare issues) and carers. It also highlighted the lack of IT in many homes.”

“We found so many people were willing to help. We had shops and charity shops giving us supplies. Everyone helped, from knitting shop owners to local butchers. Every request for help we made to businesses was met,” she said.
‘Changing Ireland’ is available through Eason’s and other newsagent. It will also be made available online at: https://
www.changingireland.ie/digital-magazine-archive/

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