A pandemic bonus? No thank you

 

Sir, – I am a medical consultant working in a large Covid-19 vaccination centre. I work with a wide range of people: vaccinators and pharmacists; members of the ambulance service and Defence Forces; operations staff; volunteers (including pianists who play music for people in the queue) as well as many people throughout the HSE and allied agencies.

Everyone I have worked with over the last 19 months has worn the green jersey with an immense sense of national pride.

When it comes to motivation, it’s plain to see that money is not the reason these people have put their shoulders to the wheel; I have also never heard anyone ask for more paid leave. I also work in a hospital and my experience has been similar.

As a frontline healthcare worker, I am also very conscious of how dependent I am, like everyone else, on the essential services provided by others: truck drivers and shop staff; journalists; politicians and civil servants; the Garda and the Fire and Rescue Services; the young people who have made extraordinary sacrifices to protect us all, the people who collect my bins, keep my lights on, Irish musicians whose recorded music recharges my batteries – there are many others.

If we are all in this together, then we can’t single out one group and not others.

If I were working reduced hours, or had lost my job, or my business, or my home, or if my walls were crumbling because of mica, or if I was more than a year on a hospital waiting list, making extra payments to some people or giving them more paid leave would upset me greatly.

Instead of patting people on the back with money or time off, we should thank them for what they have done, and with our recently rebooted sense of national pride and interdependence put the money and the effort into creating a more egalitarian Ireland with a focus on jobs, houses, education and health.

This, I think, would be the best way to thank everyone.

– Yours, etc,

CHRIS FITZPATRICK,

Dublin 6W.