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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar TD attending the National Commemoration day for those who died over the course the Covid 19 Pandemic Sam Boal
Covid-19

Commemorative events take place for those who lost their lives during the pandemic

Today’s ceremonies will honour theose who have died with Covid as well as workers, volunteers, and the general public for their efforts over the past two years.

LAST UPDATE | 20 Mar 2022

COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS IN remembrance of people who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic have been taking place around the country today.

The day of remembrance and recognition is honouring the some 6,600 people who have died with Covid as well as workers, volunteers, and the general public for their efforts over the past two years.

In a tweet, Taoiseach Micheál Martin – who was unable to attend the event at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin due to testing positive for Covid-19 – said: 

On our National Day of Remembrance & Recognition, we remember loved ones lost, and those who couldn’t be grieved in the way they deserved.
The loss is profound, but we take comfort from the fact our national spirit held firm, our communities united. We looked out for each other.

Globally, Covid-19 has killed over six million people since the outbreak of the virus in December 2019.

Taking into account excess mortality linked to Covid, the World Health Organisation estimates the true death toll could be two to three times higher than official records suggest.

In Dublin‘s Merrion Square Park, a commemorative ceremony took place at 2pm followed by performances from poets such as Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan.

Meehan read The Light Returning, a poem written out of the darkness of the Covid years as a gesture of hope and resilience, while Dorgan read his translation of the poem into Irish, An Solas ag Filleadh.

There were performances from Uilleann piper Fiadh Fitzpatrick and the Continuum Youth Choir, with participation from Dublin Civil Defence and Dublin Fire Brigade.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland said the event was a “collective moment of remembrance and reflection”.

In Kildare, members of frontline services took part in a special wreath-laying ceremony in the courtyard of Áras Chill Dara.

Poet Dr Mary O’Donnell read from her work reflecting over the last two years, and there were special musical performances by local musicians and performers.

The ceremony in Kilkenny was held at the Bandstand, Canal Square. Lead by councillor Fidelis Doherty, the ceremony included performances from the Kilkenny Gospel Choir and will feature contributions from the clergy, and representatives from the HSE, Gardaí, and Fire Services.

In Co Laois, an event took place at Fitzmaurice Place, Portlaoise from 5pm, involving poetry reading and music following a wreath-laying ceremony.

In Mayo, people will gather at the Mall Castlebar from 5pm to pay their respects.

Meanwhile, in Co Meath, a ceremony took place in Buvinda House, Navan. The event included a formal wreath-laying ceremony, poetry, readings and musical elements, with participation reflecting the diversity of the community.

Tipperary County Council held a local ceremony in Holycross Park at 2pm. This event will also be live-streamed through council’s social media channels.

On Thursday in Cork, the local authority held a remembrance ceremony at Guagán Barra.

Speaking after the event, Mayor of County Cork Gillian Coughlan said that while Covid-19 hasn’t gone away “we hope that the end is in sight”.

“Everyone struggled, many suffered, and some were tragically lost. This ceremony was a way for us to take time to pause, reflect on the past two years and remember all those who lost their lives since March of 2020. We couldn’t have our usual traditions and rituals which meant saying goodbye was even harder,” said Coulghan.

Our world became even smaller as some families faced the heartbreaking decision of having to select just ten mourners. However, communities rallied and paid their respects in other ways by lining the streets and joining services online. We supported our neighbours and as time passed, we all found within ourselves a bravery that we never realised we had….I believe that our communities will emerge stronger from all that we have experienced over the last two years.

During his St Patrick’s Day message, President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to all those who lost their lives and to all the frontline workers across society.

Higgins said it was important that a deep sacrifice was paid by so many “and for whom the healing is hard to count”.

Orla Keegan, the head of Education and Bereavement at the Irish Hospice Foundation, previously told The Journal that its bereavement helpline had received hundreds of calls when it was first set up in 2020.

Jonathan Stafford, Managing Director of Staffords Funeral Homes in Dublin, said funerals services were “just as difficult” if not harder for loved ones during the restrictions due to the limits on the number of mourners.

At times, only ten people were allowed to attend funeral services under Level 5 restrictions.

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