An older man who lives alone in south Dublin says a befriending service from the charity Alone means he has something to look forward to each week.
Donald Smith lives in Ranelagh and has poor mobility.
He told Pat Kenny other people who are lonely should reach out.
"I was born in Surrey and came to live here in 1951 at the age of 14 with my parents.
"I discovered that there was a reason I wasn't feeling very much at home living in England: I discovered it fairly quickly here, I realised that with a Scottish father and an Irish mother I really didn't belong in England".
"I worked mostly at selling advertising for the print media first, and then I emigrated to London and worked for the Thompson newspapers and did the same there.
"And then I was headhunted by Border TV, who needed somebody from Carlisle station to look after things in London with one other person.
"I was working and selling TV advertising as well".
'It was a very difficult time'
"But I was very homesick - my wife was pretty OK, but I didn't really feel at home there - and we came back to live here".
Donald lost his wife 12 years ago, after 43 years of marriage.
"It was a very difficult time, and anybody who's gone through a similar situation will probably identify with the feelings I had.
"I felt like I was living in a parallel world - everything else was the same, except that the most important part was gone."
On the befriending service from Alone, he said: "It's been wonderful really because I was nine years on my own without any regular pattern to my life.
"I live in a housing association group here in Ranelagh, and the lady who's the boss said to me would I be interested in talking to people on the basis like Alone provides, so I said 'sure'.
"So she contacted them and they contacted me.
"They said 'What kind of person would you like to be able to speak to?' and I said 'Preferably a woman', cause I relate better to women than men, and someone who's perhaps interested in the arts.
"So within a few weeks, I got this wonderful Dutch-born but very extraordinarily interesting person called Dana.
"[She] has been with me for three years now - I was her first assignment, and we get on great, it's wonderful.
"The main thing about having a befriender is that you really do have something to look forward to each week."
"It's once a week and the official length of time is an hour, but she stays a bit longer sometimes".
At those who may be reluctant at reaching out for the service, he said: "If you are lonely and you feel that you can't do much about it, it's only a small thing to do to pick up the phone and make a phone call to someone, to a friendly voice, who's there to help you and make you feel at home.
"It's so rewarding, for both parties actually."
He said Alone set a target a year ago to befriend "18% of the people who needed help", which he said: "That puts the whole problem of loneliness into perspective because on that basis, there must be at least 50,000 people in the country who are in need of it".
Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact or donate to Alone