Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on local authorities to do all they can to support Men’s Sheds.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking following a visit to Ennis Men’s Shed, where members are relying on the generosity of a local business owner to house the group.
“Men’s Sheds are fantastic facilities,” she said.
“They do incredible work when it comes to tackling the issues men face, including isolation, particularly among older people, as well as issues of men’s physical and mental health.
“They have a hugely positive impact not only on their members but on the communities they are organised in.
“As such it would be to the benefit of everybody if local authorities rowed in behind Men’s Sheds. Investment could be as simple as offering disused council owned land or buildings for hosting the Sheds.
“This would be a low cost way of providing a priceless facility to people and communities.
“Several councils across the country already enthusiastically support local Men’s Sheds and others should learn from the example they are setting.
“With that in mind our Clare County Councillor Mike McKee will be inviting a delegation of Men’s Sheds representative from across Clare into the Council to allow them to share the good work they do.
“I hope that this will not only advance the cause of Men’s Sheds in Clare but set a precedent for Councils around the country when it comes to engaging with these wonderful facilities.”
Ms Ní Riada also reiterated her call for the government to examine the possibility of a possible cartel among insurance companies.
“I’m absolutely appalled at the cynical and greedy way insurance companies are holding Men’s Sheds to ransom with outrageous premiums,” she said.
“They are a wonderful initiative and they deserve support, not attempts to wring every penny out of them.
“I am calling on the government to step in and examine the possibility of any unscrupulous business practices happening among insurance companies with regards to men’s Sheds.
“Earlier this year I raised the possibility of a cartel operating within the motor insurance industry and asked the European Commission to launch an investigation which was subsequently carried out, so there are things we can do to challenge these premiums.
“I’m a passionate supporter of the Men’s Sheds group and I will be doing everything in my power to ensure they aren’t held hostage by unscrupulous insurance companies.”