Cork healthcare workers have welcomed the Government’s announcement that a payment of €1,000 will be made in recognition of their work throughout the pandemic.
The Government has also agreed to designate a once-off public holiday on Friday, March 18 this year in recognition of the efforts of the general public, volunteers and all workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in remembrance of people who lost their lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Proprietor of Oaklodge Nursing Home Diarmuid Ó Dálaigh said that while he welcomes the bonus and is “delighted” all staff in the private, voluntary and public system will get it from the Government, that “nothing is ever enough”.
“I remember back to March to June 2020 when 90% of the country were in lockdown at home and our staff were asked to leave home earlier, get into work earlier, to stay isolated from their family, to eat their lunch on their own, and to arrange for childcare.
“These people gave up an awful lot in all aspects of their lives and it's difficult to compensate for it,” he said.
Industrial Relations Officer for the INMO in Cork, Liam Conway said: “The INMO and the Executive Council of the INMO considered the details of the pandemic bonus in full when we received them from Government.
"From the initial announcement from our perspective this is positive news in the fact that our members and healthcare workers across all sectors in the public and private sector have given their all in the fight against Covid-19.
“Obviously the details need to be provided from the Government in terms of the grant payment which is tax-free of €1,000.
Recognising that “while no monetary amount could truly reflect the dedication of healthcare staff on the frontline”, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said that the Government believes it is appropriate, at this time, that a once-off tax-free payment of €1,000 be provided for all eligible healthcare workers and thanked them for their “dedication and commitment during this extraordinary period”.
Meanwhile, Family Carers Ireland called on the Government to recognise the vital role of family carers during Covid-19 in helping to keep loved ones safe by extending the €1,000 Covid bonus to all full-time family carers.
Head of Communications and Policy of Family Carers Ireland, Catherine Cox, said: “What strikes me most is that this is yet again another missed opportunity to show family carers, once and for all, that the Government recognises their value and contribution in society and acknowledge them as the forgotten frontline workers that they are.”
Echoing her comments, local advocate of the elderly, Paddy O’Brien said that carers did “trojan work and provided a great service during the pandemic in working with the elderly” and that they too should benefit.
“It is an exceptionally good gesture to award the frontline workers but we must not forget those who risked their own lives in making daily calls to sick people,” he said.