Coronavirus – a worldwide crisis


Sir, – It is difficult not to be filled with mixed emotions watching from Australia the “on call for Ireland” campaign and the Taoiseach’s address.

We are greatly concerned for our friends and family at home watching what is unfolding in Italy. We empathise profoundly with our colleagues in the health system at home who will undoubtedly bear the brunt of what is coming. We are immensely proud of our profession and of our generation, seeing the number of people putting their lives on hold and returning home to help.

We are, however, inevitably disappointed and angered by the irony of the Taoiseach and Minister for Health Harris making pleas for our return. These individuals have actively perpetuated the abhorrent working conditions that have driven so many of us overseas and left our nation in such a vulnerable position in the first place.

I write to you having just finished a shift in an emergency department in Perth where 60 per cent of the doctors on the shift were Irish. The urge to return home and take our place alongside our colleagues on the frontline is strong. Abandoning our patients who are currently relying on us here, however, does not seem conscionable.

Our thoughts are of course with all those at home in these uncertain times, and it is deeply regrettable that so many of us will be unable to help. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – Ireland depends on non-EU doctors, mainly from the Indian subcontinent, who constitute perhaps 30 per cent of the cohort of non-consultant hospital doctors. If many of these non-EU doctors suddenly volunteered to return to their country of origin, the Irish hospital service would collapse.

A discussion needs to be held within the medical profession as to whether a doctor’s first loyalty should be to the community that employs and pays them or to the community back in their home country. My personal view is that it is unethical for doctors to abandon the community they serve at a time when that community needs them most of all, and that the HSE should immediately desist from recalling Irish healthcare staff working abroad. – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.

Sir, – Humanity is working together. We have the common goal of protecting ourselves and ridding the world of Covid-19. Even in this dark hour, is this not something to celebrate? – Yours, etc,




Sir, – The Taoiseach’s speech on St Patrick’s Day was uplifting and reassuring. It gave one a sense of a safe pair of hands on the tiller. I am perplexed at the comment of Joe McCarthy (Letters, March 20th) that “the Fine Gael’s leader’s essential political philosophy is for government to do as little as possible”.

What a begrudging remark at this time of collegiality, caring and camaraderie, when friends are checking on friends and neighbours are checking on neighbours. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 4.

Sir, – After watching the Taoiseach’s inspiring broadcast on Tuesday night, I really feel we are in safe hands here.

Now is the time to listen to the experts. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – I am very proud of my Government and my country. The willingness of people up and down the country to rearrange their lives and fortunes for the protection of others is something we must dwell upon today and be inspired by tomorrow. We must keep on keeping on. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – I see that Boris Johnson has “left the door open to telling bars and restaurants to close if customers did not heed the government’s advice to stay away from them” (“Britain can turn the tide on Covid-19 in 12 weeks, Johnson says”, News, March 19th).

That’s what I would call a garbled message. God help the British people if that’s the leadership they come to depend on! – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – The current crisis has fully exposed Boris Johnson’s crass ineptitude. We are witness to a man unusually gifted in bluff and bluster, able to inspire ludicrously inflated ideas of national exceptionalism based in fantasies about an illustrious history of benevolent conquest and control. Mr Johnson is hopelessly out of his depth. Sadly, those who have supported him in haste may repent at leisure. – Yours, etc,


York, UK.

Sir, – I implore the people to please stop wearing single-use disposable gloves as they go about their business amid this Covid-19 pandemic.

While the intentions are good, the risks associated with wearing disposable gloves beyond their intended single use are high.

We need to remember that frontline healthcare professionals are trained in the use of gloves and are well-equipped with the clinical decision-making skills to determine when to don gloves and when to remove them.

Gloves are a weapon in the armoury of frontline healthcare workers because they know how and when to wear them and most importantly when and how to remove contaminated gloves safely, without risk to self or others.

Please wash your hands frequently, more frequently than usual, and follow the HSE advice to wash hands with soap and water or a hand sanitiser. – Yours, etc,



Department of Nursing

and Midwifery,

University of Limerick.