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'A day that none of us will ever forget' - Key quotes from the Taoiseach's address to the nation

On a St Patrick's Day like no other, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave an historic address to the nation. Read the key quotes from his speech below.


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned ‘we are in the calm before the storm’ (Niall Carson/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned ‘we are in the calm before the storm’ (Niall Carson/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned ‘we are in the calm before the storm’ (Niall Carson/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made an historic address to the nation, warning that the COVID-19 emergency could last months.

Here are the key quotes:

A St Patrick’s Day Like No Other

“This is a Saint Patrick’s Day like no other. A day that none of us will ever forget.

Today’s children will tell their own children and grandchildren about the national holiday in 2020 that had no parades or parties… but instead saw everyone staying at home to protect each other.

In years to come… let them say of us… when things were at their worst… we were at our best.”

An Unstoppable Virus

“So far the number of cases in Ireland has been relatively small.

However, we believe that number will rise to fifteen thousand cases or more by the end of the month and rise further in the weeks thereafter.

The vast majority of us who contract Covid-19 will experience a mild illness… but some will be hospitalised and sadly some people will die.

We cannot stop this virus but working together we can slow it in its tracks and push it back.”

Crisis Will Last Into The Summer

“Many of you want to know when this will be over.

The truth is we don’t know yet.

This Emergency is likely to go on well beyond March 29th. It could go on for months into the summer so we need to be sensible in the approach we take.”

Elderly and Vulnerable Will Have To Cocoon

“At a certain point… we will advise the elderly and people who have a long-term illness to stay at home for several weeks. We are putting in place the systems to ensure that if you are one of them, you will have food, supplies and are checked on.

We call this ‘cocooning’ and it will save many lives… particularly the most vulnerable… the most precious in our society.”

A Special Message For Young People

“To all the young people watching – I know you are bored and probably a bit fed up. You want to see your friends and you might even be wishing you were back at school.

You’re going to have to wait a while longer for that.

I hope you remember that this time is tough on your parents as well.

So I’m asking you to ask your parents at least once a day what you can do to help them. Keep up your schoolwork and call your grandparents.

Keep up your schoolwork… call your grandparents and try not to fight with your brothers and sisters.”


“Not all superheroes wear capes… some wear scrubs and gowns.

All of our healthcare workers need us to do the right thing in the weeks ahead.”

Economy Will Takes Years To Recover

“We went into this crisis with a strong economy and the public finances in good order.

We have the capacity and credit rating to borrow billions if we need to.

I am confident that our economy will bounce back… but the damage will be significant and lasting. The bill will be enormous and it may take years to pay it.”

Fear Is A Virus In Itself

“Tonight I know many of you are feeling scared and overwhelmed. That is a normal reaction, but we will get through this and we will prevail.

We need to halt the spread of the virus but we also need to halt the spread of fear.

So please rely only on information from trusted sources. From Government… from the HSE… from the World Health Organisation and from the national media.

Do not forward or share messages that are from other, unreliable sources. So much harm has already been caused by those messages…

and we must insulate our communities and the most vulnerable from the contagion of fear.

Fear is a virus in itself.”

A Message To The World

“Tonight on our national holiday I also want to send a message around the world that we are all in this together.

To the people of China, Spain and Italy who have suffered untold heartbreak and loss – we are with you.

To all of those across the world who have lost a loved one to this virus – we are with you.

To all those living in the shadow of what is to come – we are with you.

Viruses pay no attention to borders… race… nationality or gender.

They are the shared enemy of all humanity.

So it will be the shared enterprise of all humanity that finds a treatment and a vaccine that protects us.

Tonight I send a message of friendship and of hope from Ireland to everyone around the world this Saint Patrick’s Day.”

Online Editors