The Irish spirit: People abroad come home to help with Coronavirus

Conor Breslin

Ireland has never been a stranger when coming face to face with the fear of hardship, death, deprivation, depression and struggle. However, it has always been a nation to overcome hard times and lend a helping hand to others when in need. Now more than ever the spirit of the Irish people is needed. 

In 2011, then US President Barrack Obama spoke in Dublin about the loyal, unquestioning and kind support the Irish people always lent to other nations throughout history. He said, “never has a nation so small inspire so much in another.” 

With the nation in an urgent health crisis, one the world has never seen before, the Irish spirit has once again come to the fore with the Irish Government saying last week that it would recruit everyone available with qualifications for roles in the health service during the current COVID-19 crisis.

The health service is continuing to struggle following a large increase in the number of people referred for testing for the coronavirus. Latest figures released on the 22nd of March show there are now 906 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the State with four deaths. This follows an increase from 366 cases on March 18th. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said officials predict the number of cases could rise to 15,000 by the end of this month.

Since the On Call for Ireland appeal last week from the Irish government, over 50,000 people have registered their interest to help in the health care department, whatever it may be. The current struggle for the Irish medics abroad is getting home to Ireland to help with this pandemic with one Irish doctor in Australia telling the Irish Times that, ‘My heart is broken in two: one half desperately wants to come to Ireland, the other knows I’m needed here.’    

In Ireland there are years that pass us by where nothing happens, but now in this time of unknown when the days grow brighter, students are without schools or colleges to go to, sports stadiums lie empty, concert halls stand silent and thousands sit in terror with no jobs as our economy come under strain. 

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 10,000 people globally and more than 244,000 have been infected thus far. More than 86,000 people have recovered, mostly in China, but the pace is much slower than the spread of the Covid-19. As the number of cases are rising in most countries, borders are closing, flight options are rapidly diminishing and the public grow more fearful day by day. 

The usual hustle and bustle on Dublin’s Grafton Street has almost been replaced by tumbleweeds and looks similar to a ghost town in a western movie. Take into account this is almost one month after the first COVID-19 case confirmed in Ireland. It’s the same around the country with towns and cities virtually lying silent. What the future holds remains to be seen.

Conor Breslin

Image Credit: PxHere