“In this crucial week, when we are being asked to take yet more stringent measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, may I to take the opportunity to congratulate you and thank you for your solidarity and vigilance.
All of our efforts together are making a difference. I am well aware that it is not easy, what we are asked to do.
We are being asked to keep our distance – from loved ones, from relatives, work colleagues, and from all those we meet on a daily basis and who give our lives meaning.
For all of us, this is a difficult ask. For too many, it is extremely painful not to be able to be there for those who need them, and not to be able to share the grief of our families, neighbours and friends in these difficult times.
Sabina and I are acutely aware of the pain and hardship so many of you are experiencing, and we would like to send our deepest sympathies to those who have been bereaved in recent days and weeks as a result of the pandemic.
All of what we continue to do now is about saving lives, slowing the virus, and caring for the most vulnerable. May I take this opportunity, as President of Ireland, to thank again all those who continue to work to keep our communities healthy and safe.
So many in our health service, in the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána, but also in food production and retail, and in our public utilities, continue, day in and day out, to deliver the products and services we have come to dependent on.
Everywhere in Ireland, countless people are working tirelessly and selflessly to ensure the best care possible for those affected by the Coronavirus and the safety of all our citizens and I wish to express our shared gratitude to you all for the outstanding contribution you are making.
At this time, when our everyday lives have changed beyond recognition, and when so much of what we have been accustomed to is no longer possible, we are being tested. And in these difficult times, our solidarity is vitally important.
Our solidarity now means that we need to keep our distance physically. Solidarity now also means supporting those in our communities who need us, or who are vulnerable. And it means looking beyond our borders, finding ways to support those countries that are struggling to cope and whose health care services are in danger of collapsing.
So much of what we are being asked to do now will bear fruit in the weeks that will follow. It is therefore important that we keep the faith, stay patient, and vigilant.
The days ahead will be difficult, for all of us, but what a memory it will be when the virus has passed, to know that we gave of our best. Let us not forget ever that we are not travelling through the darkness alone, but that we are on this journey together.
Let us stay the course, and ensure that we arrive at our destination, together, all of us.