Statement from An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD on National Day of Remembrance and Recognition
Published on: 20 March 2022
Today we mark our Covid National Day of Remembrance and Recognition.
It is an important moment in our country’s effort to reflect on and come to terms with the trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will be a poignant day for many, as we remember loved ones lost to the disease and as we remember all those others who passed away but couldn’t be grieved in the way we would have liked, or as they deserved.
The loss is enormous and it is profound, but we will come to terms with it in the same way that we have come through every other stage of the pandemic – as a community, united and there for each other.
Recognising Ireland’s extraordinary spirit of solidarity during the pandemic is another key aspect of what today is about.
In every section of our society, people dug more deeply and showed more resilience than they knew was possible. Countless acts of personal courage and quiet sacrifice saw our country through an unprecedented crisis, and helped save many thousands of vulnerable lives.
Everyone played their part and did what was asked of them, but our healthcare workers in particular clearly deserve special thanks on this day of recognition.
Without hesitation and before we even understood the true nature or scale of the threat, they put themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us. Without complaint, they cared for our sickest and brought dignity and compassion to the most fraught and difficult situations.
When science delivered a vaccine, they were on the frontline and helped deliver one of the most effective national vaccination programmes in the world.
They deserve and enjoy the entire nation’s deep gratitude and respect.
The truth is that we do not yet know the full extent of the damage caused by Covid. Many among us are still struggling with the physical effects of the disease, while the wider social and psychological impact of what we have been through will take years to properly understand.
But on this, our National Day of Remembrance and Recognition, we can and should take comfort and reassurance from the fact that no matter how bad it ever became, our national spirit held firm. Our communities remained united. We looked out for each other.
While I am deeply disappointed not to be able to mark this moment in person with family, friends and colleagues, I know that the spirit of resilience that underpinned our great national effort over the last two years remains strong and it will see us through whatever challenges we face.