Crisis finds community thriving even in isolation

AS the country is reduced to only essential travel and people are practising social distancing and religiously washing their hands, the Liberties are following the Taoiseach’s advice and “coming together by staying apart”.

James Kirwan, a Dublin based visual artist, recently took to Meath Street to design and paint a mural for the shutters of the currently closed Dublin Steiner School, free of charge.

The mural got great feedback on social media over the last few days.

“Because of the situation we’re in at the moment, people seemed to appreciate the colour and maybe the fact that I did it for nothing.” Kirwan said.

The school, in the heart of The Liberties, provides alternative education for primary and pre-primary school children.

The Garda Síochána are also out in force around the inner city – but not only in lockdown checkpoints.

Gardaí have begun making house calls to elderly or vulnerable residents in the community. They have also begun making lists of people who need extra care. There are also plans for gardaí to help bring elderly and vulnerable people to medical appointments, deliver food and medical prescriptions during the crisis.

Often the most difficult of situations bring out the best in humanity. In the Liberties, members of the local community have shown great generosity and solidarity with their community.

Slunchbox, a company that normally provides lunches to school students, is working with members of the community to deliver and provide meals to vulnerable people for free. A GoFundMe campaign was organised with the Robert Emmet Community Development Project in Usher Street and, in less than a week, over €2,000 has been raised.

Slunchbox works with local restaurants to prepare meals locally, which are then delivered by community groups to those in need though contactless delivery.

Slunchbox organiser, Hanan Swan, said the group has capacity for 1,000 meals a day.

“Once the schools closed, we decided to use the stock we already had to chip in and help the community,” Swan said.

Some local businesses are transitioning to delivery services in a bid to maintain their business.

Harkins Bar & Bistro, located beside the Guinness brewery on Echlin Street, has both a call-and-collect service and delivery through Deliveroo.

Other grocers and businesses are also delivering fresh produce right to people’s doors.

Amid a global crisis, the Liberties, like dozens of communities throughout the country, are coming together like they always do, to make sure that nobody is left behind.