Coronavirus – Taoiseach addresses nation


Sir, – Dr Blánaid Hayes states that the chief medical officer and the Public Health Expert Group are doing a stellar job in leading the Government’s medical response in the war against Covid-19 (Letters, March 17th). Patricia Mulkeen praises the government for doing its level best (Letters, March 18th). Una Mullally writes about our political leaders acting out of social responsibility, our national empathy boom and sense of togetherness (“Collective effort is the only way through this crisis”, Opinion & Analysis, March 16th).

In his televised address to the nation on St Patrick’s Day, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke about the heroism of healthcare workers and the important roles being played by those who are keeping the supply chain open or stepping in to provide childcare for front-line workers or providing online teaching to students – as well as by the newly enlisted contact-tracers and the journalists and broadcasters who are helping to inform and educate us.

I think I can safely say that these are also the views of almost everyone in the country at the present time. Never before has there been such consensus.

In the last few weeks we have all learned a lot about ourselves: who we are, our dependency on each other and, importantly, that we have what it takes, at every level of our society, to get through this crisis. – Yours, etc,


Consultant Obstetrician

and Gynaecologist,

Coombe Women and

Infants University Hospital,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – That was the message we all needed to help us face what is ahead. Thank you, Taoiseach. – Yours, etc,



Co Galway.

Sir, – After his broadcast to our nation, I’m proud of Leo Varadkar.

Tough times ahead indeed, but I feel the Taoiseach is one of us and that together we are strong enough to beat this. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – I have not heard the likes of the Taoiseach’s speech in my more than three score years and 10. He addressed every sector, service and age group, and delivered a message of unity to the entire world. I am proud of our leader. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – How refreshing to hear straight facts coupled with encouragement and comfort. Would that it might be the same over here in the US. – Yours, etc,



Massachusetts, US.

Sir, – One significant manifestation of the Covid-19 pandemic across Europe, and particularly in the US, is how the current global economic model has left the most vulnerable seriously exposed. The more well-off, and those working in specific sectors, can rest assured that after a period of social isolation in the comfort of their own homes, they will return to normality.

For a large majority, though, this is a period of massive uncertainty, not only for their health but also their livelihood.

Many live pay-cheque to pay-cheque, and in the US up to 40 million people have little or no access to affordable health care. The onset of the Covid-19 virus presents millions with the prospect of joblessness and in some cases destitution.

Despite this, public mobilisation has demonstrated, to those who support the dismantling of social provision, that free-at-source healthcare is essential in times of a public health crisis.

If anything positive were to come out of this crisis, the recognition by all that a robust social safety net and a more egalitarian society do serve a purpose would be some consolation. – Yours, etc,


Blackrock, Cork.

Sir, – The Covid-19 crisis is likely to end public arts events for several months, leaving many artists with no income.

Would the Arts Council and Creative Ireland consider using unallocated funds, such as the suspended travel and training award, to allocate an emergency “cnuas” to those of us who do not have the financial cushion of that annual Aosdána bursary?

A period of Arts Council-funded self-isolation would help artists produce great art to help us get through these trying times. – Yours, etc,



and Artistic Director,

The Irish Memory



Co Galway.

Sir, – While out walking in my local park yesterday morning, I noticed runners and joggers two or more abreast were using the pathways, forcing the elderly to move out of the way to adhere to social distancing. Many elderly people have balance and hearing issues and are being alarmed and stressed by the behaviour of the fit and healthy. As a result many are arriving home with soiled shoes from being forced into wet and muddy grass verges.

Maybe the parks should introduce an exclusive elderly hour, as has been introduced in the supermarkets. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – Having missed the news bulletins, I asked a colleague, “What are today’s numbers?” We both knew we weren’t talking about the lottery. Or maybe we were. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Regardless of our political views, can we please agree to stop sniping at our current administration until we get through this? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.