THE Irish Ambassador to Britain has urged Irish people across the country to get “fully vaccinated” in his annual Christmas message to the community.
Ambassador Adrian O’Neill also thanked frontline workers, NHS staff and those who kept our Irish organisations and centres operating throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in a Christmas message to the diaspora across the country.
In his 2021 statement he said he was “constantly impressed” by the strength shown by the Irish community across Britain as they faced the devastating health crisis that has plagued the country since March 2020.
“2021 has been another extraordinary year,” he said.
“Through the dark days of last winter to the hope of spring and summer as the vaccine programme was rolled out, I have been constantly impressed and inspired by the incredible strength and resilience shown by the Irish community across Britain.”
He added: “As this year draws to a close, in circumstances that are less festive than we had hoped for, I hope you will continue to draw on that community spirit, continue to look out for one another and still have a very happy and peaceful Christmas season.”
Noting the uncertain circumstances that continue currently, with the Omicron variant of the virus now circulating across Britain and talk of increased lockdown-style restrictions being discussed by government, Mr O’Neill called on the community to continue to “act with care” and also urged them to get their booster Covid vaccinations.
“Our celebrations will look a little different again this year as we gather together - whether in person or virtually with family, friends or neighbours - but it is source of solace and pride to know that the Irish community are so mindful of acting with care and consideration for the health and wellbeing of all,” he said.
“If 2020 was defined by the Covid-19 pandemic, then 2021 has surely been the year of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“This miracle of science and research has saved thousands of lives, kept many of us from severe illness and allowed us to interact with each other for most of the year.
“If you have not yet had the opportunity to get fully vaccinated and take up the third booster dose, I would urge you to do so as soon as possible.”
He went on to thank all of those who have worked hard to keep Britain moving throughout the pandemic.
“To all of the Irish frontline and emergency workers, all the wonderful NHS staff and all involved in the vaccine programme and Covid responses, I know it has been a challenging year in many ways and our heartfelt thanks goes to you all for the vital work that you continue to do.
“Similarly, I convey my deep gratitude to all the management, staff and volunteers of Irish organisations across Britain who kept our community in good heart during the course of the last year.”
He adde: From the Embassy of Ireland, my wife Aisling and I, and all my colleagues, I would like to extend to you and the wider Irish community in London and across Britain our very best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year.
“Nollaig shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go léir.”