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Covid-19 forces socially distanced celebrations for National Services Day

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee will lay a wreath at a ceremony in Dublin.

Image: Rollingnews

Updated Sep 5th 2020, 4:00 PM

THE IRISH AIR Corps performed a fly over in Dublin today, while church bells rang out across the country, as Covid-19 forced a more muted celebration of National Services Day. 

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted the normal celebrations, which normally take place on the first Saturday of September. 

However, the government, national service staff and members of the public marked the occasion in a more socially distanced way. 

While the annual parade was cancelled, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee lay a wreath at a ceremony in Dublin. 

Minister McEntee commended the dedication and professionalism of frontline services, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic

“This has been a frightening and uncertain time for all of us. But our emergency workers – despite any private fears they may have had for themselves or their loved ones – have continued to fully perform their duties and have indeed increased their efforts to support the public. We owe them, and their families, a deep debt of gratitude for their outstanding professionalism, dedication and care,” McEntee said. 

“On this day, I think particularly of Detective Garda Colm Horkan, who tragically lost his life in the service of the State this year.  In his selfless commitment to community and country, Detective Horkan represented the very best of An Garda Síochána and indeed of all our frontline services.  We remember and honour him today.”

The celebrations come amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen healthcare staff and frontline workers hailed for their efforts during the worst of the crisis. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin today tweeted his thanks to frontline workers.

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“Every day these women and men support and protect communities right across our country. Their vital contribution to society enables us to continue the fight against Covid-19,” he said. 

“Very few people have been left unscathed by the virus,” National Services Day Chairperson Seamus O’Neill said. 

He said that today was about a “spirit of remembrance and gratitude”. 

O’Neill had encouraged people across the country to join in the celebration and to chap or cheer at 3pm to mark the day. 

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