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Government considering how to honour the work of volunteers during pandemic

There have been calls for a gesture of appreciation to be given.
Jan 14th 2021, 4:27 PM 22,317 60

THE GOVERNMENT IS considering “some form of honorarium” for volunteers who have been working throughout the pandemic for no charge.

Independent TD Cathal Berry asked the Tánaiste today if there is a way the government could demonstrate the value of the work they are doing.

“For instance, it was mentioned to me when I visited some of them that they could be provided with perhaps One4All vouchers, fuel cards, social welfare stamps or something else more tangible,” he said.

Some of these volunteers are working in Covid testing hubs all over the country, said Berry.

“Some of these people are members of the GAA or retired members of the Defence Forces. I even met Aer Lingus workers currently on leave of absence. They are working unpaid and they epitomise the volunteer spirit in Ireland at the moment,” he added.

“These people signed up for a couple of weeks’ work last March, but a couple of weeks has turned into almost a year now, with another few months to run. Has any consideration been given to providing something more meaningful, more tangible, to demonstrate our appreciation for the work these people do?” asked Berry.

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Varadkar said the issue “has been on my mind as well”.

“I am conscious that a large number of volunteers are helping out in the testing centres and swabbing centres. Not only are these people giving up their time; they are also willing to put themselves at a certain degree of risk of contracting the virus.

“That needs to be recognised properly, so we are giving consideration to recognising their contribution in some way, perhaps through some form of honorarium. I have not worked that out exactly yet, but it would be right and appropriate that we do so,” said the Tánaiste.

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Christina Finn

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