MICHAEL D Higgins has urged the people of Ireland to show “solidarity, vigilance and tenacity” during the government-enforced lockdown.
In his annual Easter message, the President of Ireland admitted that Irish citizens were being tested like never before by coronavirus, but still held the power to reduce the scale of the current emergency.
Higgins stressed the need for people everywhere to comply with the restrictions in place to help limit the spread of the disease.
“Over the past number of weeks, all of us have awoken abruptly to changes in our way of life,” he said.
“There is an uncertainty, anxiety and fear to be overcome as the coronavirus takes hold in our communities.
“We have all been asked to take more restrictive measures in order to stop the spread of the virus measures that would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago and which have presented a challenge to our resolve, to our way of life, be it how we work or socialise with others.”
The President expressed sympathy for those affected by the deadly virus while paying tribute to frontline workers maintaining essential services during the outbreak.
“Sabina and I are greatly aware of the pain and suffering so many of you are experiencing in different ways, we send our deepest sympathies to those who have been bereaved in recent days and weeks as a result of the pandemic, those who are ill, anxious and concerned.
“We know, too, how difficult it is in so many ways for those who would wish to be with loved ones for whom they are concerned, but whose protection requires that they stay at a distance.
“All of what we are asked to do now is about saving lives, slowing the spread of the virus, and caring in the ways that have been suggested to us by medical advice, until a vaccine emerges.
“May I take this opportunity again, as President of Ireland, to thank all those who continue to work tirelessly and selflessly to keep communities, wherever they may be, healthy and safe the many Irish medical staff who are providing the highest standards of care not only at home but across the globe.”
President Higgins and his wife Sabina are joining a nationwide initiative on Easter Saturday night by putting lights outside their home at Aras an Uachtarain paying tribute to those battling the disease – and he encouraged others to do the same.
“At Easter we are asked to muster our courage, keep faith with our possibilities so that we can be ready for our renewal,” he said.
“In keeping with the Easter message of hope, Irish people are being asked to place a light in their window tomorrow, the Saturday before Easter Sunday, a time so important in the symbolism of our Irish Independence.
“Sabina and I will light lanterns and place these at the doors in Aras an Uachtarain, symbolising our shared solidarity and offering a beacon of hope in a time of darkness.
“The days ahead may continue to be difficult, and for some I recognise they are more difficult than others, such as carers, but what a memory it will be, and legacy too, when the virus has passed to know that we gave of our best, and what a valuable memory it will be that we continued to save lives that would otherwise have been lost by co-operating and working with the measures suggested to us for the good of all.
“As President of Ireland, I send you Easter greetings wherever you may be, and wish you well in your solidarity, vigilance and tenacity during these difficult times when we are tested like few other times in recent memory.”
He finished by saying: “In the shadow of each other we live. May the hope and peace of Easter be with you all.”