Taoiseach urges people to 'stay focused' and 'not congregate' on St Patrick's Day

Taoiseach urges people to 'stay focused' and 'not congregate' on St Patrick's Day

The Taoiseach said there was an additional poignancy this year as the nation reflects on more that 6,500 “family, friends and neighbours across the island who have died with the virus.” Photo: Tom Honan/Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has wished Irish people around the world well on Saint Patrick’s Day, but asked everyone to stay focused and not to congregate and socialise this St Patrick's Day.

Speaking about the significance of Saint Patrick’s Day, Mr Martin said it was a day when we celebrate our nation, our heritage and our people.

The Taoiseach said there was an additional poignancy this year as the nation reflects on more that 6,500 “family, friends and neighbours across the island who have died with the virus.” 

Mr Martin urged people to “stay focused” and avoid another wave of infection by congregating.

“The opportunity to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day will come again. Our vaccination programme continues to be rolled out and as supply increases, we will get them to people quickly. But for the moment, we must continue to observe the current restrictions.

“Lá Fhéile Pádraig is the day when the world honours the Irish people. There can be no better way to honour our people in 2021 than to stay focused and avoid another wave of infection with this terrible virus.” 

Mr Martin also addressed the US Chamber of Commerce at an online conference saying that St Patrick’s Day offers an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinarily deep and important bond between Ireland and the United States.

The Taoiseach called it “a connection that spans family, cultural, political, and economic ties that go back centuries and which are primed to continue for years to come.” 

Mr Martin said that the United States is Ireland’s largest single trading partner and biggest source of investment.

“There are over 800 American companies present in Ireland, employing 180,000 people. In the other direction, there are over 650 Irish companies in America, employing 110,000 people. That is extraordinary.” 

Mr Martin also highlighted the work of two Irish diaspora who he said have made outstanding contributions within the field of science in Ireland and America.

Professor William C Campbell and Vincent T Roche, were announced as the esteemed recipients of the 2021 Science Foundation Ireland St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal.

“Both Professor Campbell and Mr Roche embody the significant achievements and contributions of the Irish diaspora. Today we proudly recognise their tenacity and innovation, which is symbolic of the enduring strength and durability of our great bilateral relationship. The outstanding leadership both have demonstrated in their respective fields is far reaching and visionary.”

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