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Key workers remembered in silent tributes across Northern Ireland

Ulster Hospital nurse Roisin Devlin described the act of remembrance as very poignant.

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NHS staff at the Mater hospital in Belfast (Peter Morrison/PA)

NHS staff at the Mater hospital in Belfast (Peter Morrison/PA)

NHS staff at the Mater hospital in Belfast (Peter Morrison/PA)

Silences in memory of key workers who have lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic have been held across Northern Ireland.

The acts of tribute were particularly poignant in hospitals where health workers thought of fallen colleagues.

More than 100 healthcare staff have died with Covid-19, including Pat McManus, 60, a nurse from Co Tyrone who had been working in a Staffordshire hospital.

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NHS staff at the Ulster Hospital in Belfast during a minute’s silence to pay tribute to the NHS staff and key workers who have died during the coronavirus outbreak (Roisin Devlin/PA)

NHS staff at the Ulster Hospital in Belfast during a minute’s silence to pay tribute to the NHS staff and key workers who have died during the coronavirus outbreak (Roisin Devlin/PA)

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NHS staff at the Ulster Hospital in Belfast during a minute’s silence to pay tribute to the NHS staff and key workers who have died during the coronavirus outbreak (Roisin Devlin/PA)

From the Assembly chamber at Stormont to hospitals across the region, the minute of silence was observed.

Socially distanced staff lined the roads at Craigavon Area Hospital in Co Armagh and Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry while there were gatherings outside the Belfast City Hospital, which houses the region’s Nightingale facility.

At the Mater Infirmorum Hospital in Belfast, doctors, nurses and support staff gathered briefly in the atrium to pay tribute to fallen frontline workers.

There was a burst of spontaneous applause as the minute ended before staff swiftly returned to their posts.

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NHS staff at the Mater hospital in Belfast during the minute’s silence (Peter Morrison/PA)

NHS staff at the Mater hospital in Belfast during the minute’s silence (Peter Morrison/PA)

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NHS staff at the Mater hospital in Belfast during the minute’s silence (Peter Morrison/PA)

Across the city at the Ulster Hospital, senior nurse Roisin Devlin was among those who took part in the tribute, and described it as “very poignant”.

She said staff gathered in a communal area of the ward to allow everyone to show their respect and patients to join to “remember the dead and highlight that they will never just be a number, but a much-loved member of staff”.

“In healthcare, teamwork is so important and when you lose a member of that team, it is like losing a family member,” she told the PA news agency.

“My thoughts will be with the families of those who died, but also with their work colleagues who need to continue working, knowing a member of their team is no longer there.

“Staff feel very strongly that we should all honour those who lost their lives by carrying out the minute’s silence so we will be forming a guard of honour in the ED (emergency department) along the corridor to show solidarity with our colleagues.”

PA