A medal for healthcare workers


Sir, – As I write this, I can see my grandfather’s “1919-1921” War of Independence Service Medal, one of approximately 51,000 issued by the State.

A century years later, nurses, doctors and others are risking their lives every day for us.

How should that be commemorated, and how will people know in future what they meant to us?

First, of course, we should insist that all healthcare professionals must have proper pay, working hours, and employment conditions, and all the equipment and back-up they need to do their jobs.

But we will need to do even more for them.

I suggest, at the very least, an official Irish “Covid-19 emergency service medal”, so that people not yet born can hold them, and wonder that there were people with such professionalism, selfless courage, and kindness.


School of Archaeology,

University College Dublin,