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President pays tribute to frontline workers who have died in Covid-19 outbreak

Michael D Higgins laid a wreath for all those who have died in the coronavirus pandemic in the grounds of Aras an Uachtarain.

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Irish President Michael D Higgins (Danny Lawson/PA)

Irish President Michael D Higgins (Danny Lawson/PA)

Irish President Michael D Higgins (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins marked International Workers’ Memorial Day with a ceremony remembering all the frontline workers who have died during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr Higgins laid a wreath for all those who have died in the coronavirus pandemic at the Plough and the Stars memorial in the grounds of Aras an Uachtarain.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from those working in healthcare, nursing homes, gardai, An Post, retail staff and delivery drivers.

Mr Higgins said that those on the front line are working “tirelessly and selflessly”.

He said: “Today we commemorate the many thousands around the world who have, through their generous and willing efforts in the service of others, lost their own lives to Covid-19, giving their lives for others with whom they shared the public world.

“Let us, on a day like today, remember and celebrate also the many thousands more who continue to put their lives at risk in order to continue their important work, for the benefit of their fellow citizens.

“To all those workers who have responded to the coronavirus crisis with such a generous spirit of solidarity, we owe, and future generations will owe, an enormous debt of gratitude.

“Gratitude, whose expression is so important, however, cannot be, and must not ever be, perceived as any adequate substitute for the dignity, wellbeing, and security of employment that is the right of all workers in any fair and inclusive society.”

The statistics tell us that over a quarter of confirmed cases of Covid-19 relate to healthcare workers, and our heart goes out to their loved onesMichael D Higgins

Mr Higgins also paid tribute to the “outstanding” work carried out by people working in jobs which are often “undervalued”.

He added: “The statistics tell us that over a quarter of confirmed cases of Covid-19 relate to healthcare workers, and our heart goes out to their loved ones.

“We have seen, and continue to benefit from, a dedication to public service and public safety, and a selfless response to the needs of others by those who have been and are prepared to put their own health at risk for the health and safety of all.

“We must welcome the praise, private and public, for those selfless and much appreciated workers. Yet praise alone, however, will not adequately protect the lives of vulnerable workers or safeguard them from subordination to economic efficiency.

“It is only by closing the gap between words and action in relation to conditions, safety and provision that we can sufficiently and ethically commemorate those workers we honour here today.”

PA