Dublin men’s sheds hope to fully reopen next month after appeal launched
The Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) has this week written to Taoiseach Micheál Martin urging him to allow the reopening of sheds in September
Dublin men’s shed members are appealing for the government to allow them reopen fully next month.
The Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) has this week written to Taoiseach Micheál Martin urging him to allow the reopening of sheds in September.
The plea comes at a critical juncture for members of Men’s Sheds across the country, as many have become disillusioned in recent weeks and feel left behind.
The letter reads: “As pubs, restaurants, leisure facilities and even international travel have all now returned, it has been very difficult for our shedders to watch society moving on and getting back to normal while their beloved sheds remain shut.
“We understand that all of the above groups have reopened under very stringent conditions, and that they must operate in accordance with all public health measures.
“Our sheds are all willing to do the same, and to comply fully by following any necessary protocols for their safe reopening.”
It follows on from calls by Minister for Older People Mary Butler for sheds to be allowed open, and she told the Taoiseach that community groups like men’s sheds are ‘anxious’ to return.
Sam Murphy of East Wall Men’s Shed told Dublin Live that there is a real need for men to be supported after the tough few months of lockdowns.
“We’ve got about 30 members and we have a garden and we’re moving back to our old premises on East Wall Road soon,” he said.
Meanwhile Vincent McCarthy of Skerries Men’s Shed said that lockdown has been a ‘challenge’ for its 21 members.
“We have met and worked in small groups, keeping to the social distancing and following all of the health guidelines. We have our own allotment and we do work for the mill. The shed is very important for our members health and welfare,” he said.
“We constructed new shed and put it in place in March, and we hope to get back to general meetings in September. We’ve done a couple of meetings over Zoom as well.
“We’re very conscious of the Delta variant, even though the majority of our members are double vaccinated we’re going to be very, very careful,” added Mr McCarthy.
In Portmarnock, Gerry McHugh said that members of the shed are ‘dying to get open’ for next month.
He explained: “We have about 30 members and we’ve been only partially open since lockdown, we still do social distancing. We have a workshop and we do a lot of woodwork, and there’s also a kitchen for the lads to get a cup of tea and a recreational area with a pool table, dart board, a tv and a computer.
“We hope to be fully reopened in September, it’s been hard for the last year and a half.”
Meanwhile, a new study carried out by IMSA on the impact of Covid-19 on shed members found that that men who fell into an at-risk lonely category prior to shed closures was at 1.2%.
Since the sheds have closed, that has skyrocketed to 39.2%. This grim statistic highlights the need for our sheds to reopen, to combat social isolation among Ireland’s most vulnerable men.
Enda Egan, CEO of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association, says these figures are extremely worrying, and should serve as a call to action.
“Sheds play a central role in promoting and safeguarding the wellbeing of men, in both rural and urban communities,” he explained.
“There is no doubt that men need an outlet, a secure place to go, to be active, to chat and to meet each other as equals. The harsh impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means that such an outlet has never been more critical to protect Irish men from loneliness and isolation.”