Thursday, 17 December 2020
Covid-19 Task Force: Statements
I am sharing time with Deputy Ó Murchú. I welcome the Covid-19 task force and I look forward to getting the vaccine jab when it is my turn. This time last year we could not have imagined what we would be facing, not alone the deaths but the change in life as we know it. This virus has reminded us how fragile and interdependent we are.
Across the world, vaccines have changed lives, virtually eradicating diseases that devastated earlier generations. It is a medical fact that some people will not be able to get the vaccine. Everyone who can be vaccinated against Covid-19 should be vaccinated. We do it for ourselves and for others too. There has been too much suffering and too much death for people to prevaricate. I think of the people, men and women, who died in north Kildare in nursing homes. We paid a heavy toll in Kildare in comparison with the rest of the country. Each one of those people was unique and loved, as stated by our wonderful Kildare coroner, Dr. Denis Cusack. Tonight, I pay tribute to them, their families and the staff who put their own lives at risk to look after those people. Many of those staff are highly skilled but poorly paid.
This pandemic has shown us what Governments can achieve when they work together and with experts for the common cause of public health and the chequebook is open. The chequebook was open because this coronavirus affects the economies of the developed world. If we can apply the same level of global mutual co-operation towards eradicating poverty and promoting rights, one can only imagine what we could achieve. I hope and pray that will happen. We could and should do that.
It will be some time before the vaccine is rolled out to everybody. I urge people to take extra care this Christmas. I heard a HSE official say earlier that people should only meet other people they would trust with their lives. That is good advice. Christmas time is about the birth of a baby. It is a time of hope. Next year will be the year of hope. I welcome the Covid-19 task force and I wish it well. I also wish the Minister well and I thank him for the help he gave me throughout the year with various issues in north Kildare.
Let us roll up our sleeves, literally and metaphorically, and get this done.