Ireland’s Catholic bishops realize that the levels of fear, anger and disillusionment are very high in Ireland but they asked the public to remember that blame and recrimination are futile and only distract from building a more sustainable future.

Charities in Ireland are barely meeting the demands for accommodation, food, fuel and clothing. The bishops said it is very easy to become a negative, defeatist and despairing country.

A statement from the bishops reads “The people of Ireland have always shown resilience when faced with situations of great challenge in the past. We believe in our ability as a nation to address the challenges that confront us now.

"One of the strongest grounds for hope is that Ireland is blessed with people of extraordinary generosity, good neighborliness and social concern.

"Knowing that someone cares, that someone is willing to listen and help can mean as much to a person or family in financial distress as the help they receive with material needs. There is no substitute for good neighborliness and human friendship.

"We take this opportunity to appeal for a new mobilization of good neighborliness and practical care for others in our local communities, of people giving generously of their time and talents as well as their money and goods to tackle poverty and social exclusion."

The bishops of Ireland spoke after a one-day meeting at Maynooth. They commented on the fact that high unemployment was having a demoralizing impact while emigration was causing upheaval in families and communities.

“Large numbers of people have also become weighed down by unexpected levels of debt, the fear of losing their home, the prospect of losing their job, the dread of their business failing or the impact of cuts to their pay, pension or benefits."

They asked that the public keep an eye on the elderly and make sure they are safe, warm and have sufficient food. They also asked parishes to dedicate the first Sunday of the New Year to the needs of Ireland.

They added “We ask them to pray for politicians, civil servants, economists and those who order our commercial, economic and financial life that they will receive the wisdom and courage to build our economic future on the principles of justice, solidarity and the common good with a particular concern for the vulnerable and the poor."