'It's difficult – but necessary,' says Patrick (72) of new restrictions

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The new ban on household visits has left retired Dublin resident Patrick Gallagher (72) “nervous” ahead of the winter months, but he has urged people to comply with the guidelines.

Mr Gallagher, who lives alone in Baldoyle, is a member of many local groups and an active member of the community, but the pandemic put a quick stop to most of these activities in the spring.

After his spirits fell in June, his doctor advised him to get in touch with the charity Alone.

“I had to cocoon from St Patrick’s Day and I think I took the first walk to freedom in the middle of June. In that period I became very down, low in spirit,” Mr Gallagher told the Irish Independent.

“Looking back on the first lockdown, the only thing that differentiates it is that there was nothing to compare it to. It was a whole new experience for both young and old.

“It doesn’t matter what age group you are in, nobody can live an isolated life. We’re meant to be for one another.”

Mr Gallagher said that it was a “new release” once lockdown restrictions were lifted, but he feels “nervous” heading into the colder months.

“It was a new release to get out and meet up with people and go into restaurants and cafes. It was a whole new chapter,” he said.

“I might feel a little bit nervous going into the winter because at the moment I don’t feel too well and am suffering from headaches – but I’ve been seeing my doctor about that.”

Originally from Gurteen in Sligo, Mr Gallagher has lived in Dublin for over two decades and he knows many friendly faces in his local area. “In normal times I go on day tours and being involved with the Men [local group] I go away for a few days, but that’s over,” he said.

He added that the looming winter, with longer and darker nights, “is not a pleasant prospect”.

However, he has kept himself busy with crosswords and word searches.

“I’m beginning to grow into it. I read a lot and don’t watch much television,” he said. “I find crosswords or word search books, something that concentrates the mind, they’re spot on and it passes the time. They keep me busy for the time being.”

Last night’s household restrictions came as no surprise to Mr Gallagher: he had expected the country to go to Level 5 upon Nphet’s recommendations almost two weeks ago.

He said it is in everybody’s interest now to follow the new guidelines.

“If we want to gain any normal freedom, or the virus to disappear or be suppressed, it’s everybody’s best foot forward,” he said.

“It’s in everybody’s interest to adhere to the new regulations. They’re difficult – but they’re necessary.

“I am completely in agreement with them. I live alone myself and I find it difficult on one hand, but very necessary on another if we are ever to pull out of this.”

Irish Independent

Source: Irish News