Limerick Bishop: Ireland will ‘up its game’ in coronavirus fight

Limerick Bishop: Ireland will ‘up its game’ in coronavirus fight

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy | PICTURE: MICHAEL COWHEY

BISHOP of Limerick Brendan Leahy said as a general public, Ireland will “up its game” to limit the impact of coronavirus here.

Speaking after the weekly Mass in St John's Cathedeal this Sunday, Bishop Leahy said that the new measures introduced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Friday night there is a need to “go to another level” ro protect the vulnerable.

He said Limerick people need to all they can to ensure health services, especially Intensive Care Units can cope with what’s ahead.

Everyone, he said, must buy into this, he said, and he was encouraged by the response of the public yesterday and today.

“It has been”, he said, “a clear sign that we are willing to dig deeper to help avoid the horror being experienced in other nations, including close to home in Italy and Spain. “

But, he stressed, we cannot let our guard down in this at any stage.

“There is too much at stake.  We got the sad news yesterday that 14 people have lost their lives. Today there will most likely be more and we pray for them and their families at this very sad time,” the Bishop added.

He said the lockdown, and the response to it, has been “a collective statement of intent that we are willing to do what it takes.”

“If we look to Italy and the horrific scenes there and scenes also coming out of Spain, it’s easy to visualise just how bad the outcome will be if don’t dig deep now. The words of one priest last night interviewed on CNN hit deep and hard. He said ‘the sick were all alone as they lay dying.  They were people who died without anyone to hear or see them, without the possibility to talk to their loved ones, no one to comfort them,” he said.

Ireland doesn’t want to be a country like that, he said, “and that’s why I believe the public is going to step up to the mark.”

He added his voice to the calls for peop;le to remain home except for absolutely essential reasons.

“Wash your hands when you have to go out and do it on return. Keep your physical disrance when those essential trips out have to be made,” Bishop Leahy added.

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Bishop Leahy also had a special word for healthcare workers across the system and spoke of his own special thoughts for those working in the nationwide network of nursing homes and, particularly, their residents and patients.

“With so many elderly and sick residents living in these homes, we have to pray that they be spared the worst effects of the virus. Let’s pray that the wonderful efforts of their health carers protect as many of them as possible and that those same healthcare staff know that we think of them and keep them in our prayers, our thoughts and daily applause. We pray too that they are safe,” he concluded.

Figures last night showed there were 45 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Limerick.

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