IRELAND’S MINISTER for Health Simon Harris has shared an emotional birthday message written to his father Bart, who he has been unable to see during lockdown.
While several politicians in the UK have come under fire for breaking the rules around social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, ministers in Ireland have continued to lead by example.
Harris has led the calls for people to remain at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a bid to reduce the number of cases flooding into Ireland’s hospitals.
It’s a call he too had heeded, as the past Easter Weekend demonstrated.
With Harris’s father, Bart, celebrating his birthday, he would have no doubt be tempted to pay him a visit of some kind.
The UK Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, attracted criticism for doing just that, after driving from London to the Midlands to deliver what he claims was medication and other essential items to his elderly parents.
Ireland’s Health Minister, however, understood the importance of leading by example at this crucial time.
So rather than visit his father, he decided to write a touching message to him on social media.
Happy birthday Dad! Thanks for always being there. Sorry I can’t see you today. We’re all going to get through this & keep our country safe. It’s really tough on people & we all miss family & friends & normal routine but we will prevail - together #COVID19 #coronavirus #StayHome pic.twitter.com/LufKf0fAqE
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) April 12, 2020
It’s a message that not only pays tribute to his dad but serves as a show of respect for Ireland’s frontline workers.
He wrote: "Happy birthday Dad!
“Thanks for always being there. Sorry I can’t see you today. We’re all going to get through this & keep our country safe.
“It’s really tough on people & we all miss family & friends & normal routine but we will prevail - together #COVID19 #coronavirus #StayHome"
The message was posted the same day Leo Varadkar warned Ireland that the nation’s “darkest days” were to come in the weeks ahead.