There are calls for a Minister to be appointed to tackle the "epidemic" of loneliness.

Mayo Fianna Fail Senator Keith Swanick - who was one of the authors of a report on the issue - wants the government to do more to tackle loneliness .

The report was launched last Summer in association with the ALONE charity, and included 5 main recommendations which will be debated in the Seanad later today.

It also calls for €3 million to be dedicated towards a public campaign encouraging those feeling lonely to seek support, and for more research in the area.

Erris-based Dr. Swanick says a national conversation about the issue of loneliness needs to take place:

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