THANK you to everyone who has helped us to survive and cope during this terrible year.
Even as our fight against Covid-19 continues, it is appropriate to pause for reflection at Christmas time, to express our gratitude to everyone who has saved lives and reduced the toll of illness in our community, and to everyone who has kept up our morale.
The country has suffered death and sickness because of the pandemic. Our hearts go out to all of the families who have had to deal with the pain.
Thanks in no small way to the sensible advice offered consistently by Dr. Tony Holohan and his colleagues in the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), we have had to endure less in this republic than other countries have had to bear, and we know we’ll get the best health leadership as we take on the latest surges.
Government deserves credit for generally acting on the wise counsel of Dr. Holohan, Dr. Ronan Glynn and their many fine colleagues in public health. Opposition parties have been supportive. Public servants have served our community well.
Medical professionals have remained calm and delivered their guidance and care in a very intelligent and effective way, and this has won a high level of respect and compliance from the public.
Their unstinting hard work has been of tremendous benefit. We have to continue the fight of course, especially in the light of the surge in cases in the past week. We know we will do so.
Sincere, heartfelt thanks to all of our frontline heroes. GPs, consultants, hospital doctors, nurses, ambulance crews and hospital staff have been heroic. They are exhausted. Hopefully they can get a bit of a rest over Christmas. They should know how much we all appreciate them.
The same goes for nursing home staff, Gardaí and all emergency personnel, teachers and school staff, funeral directors and their staff, An Post and private sector delivery women and men, van and truck drivers who delivered food and necessary supplies to us, shop staff. There are many more - too numerous to mention. We thank them all.
Community volunteers like those who delivered hampers to people in our city, Friendly Call, Penny Dinners, Pieta House, just to mention a few of the organisations doing incredible, life-saving work. Library staff, performers who entertained us and helped keep our spirits up, all deserve our gratitude.
It has been a bleak year, with many periods of fear and darkness. Yet our community spirit and solidarity has endured. We have proved we are a strong and resilient country.
As we watched the livestream entering the chamber at Newgrange this week, we were conscious that, with the solstice, gradual progress to the brighter days of summer is underway. We have hope that with the coming of vaccines, very shortly now, we are on our way to brighter times in every sense.
Everyone at The Echo and EchoLive.ie would like to extend Christmas greetings to all of our friends in Cork and beyond. May you all have a peaceful, restful and joyful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.