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President Michael D Higgins suggests frontline workers should be paid more

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President Higgins (Danny Lawson/PA)

President Higgins (Danny Lawson/PA)

PA

President Higgins (Danny Lawson/PA)

President Michael D Higgins has suggested that frontline workers are underpaid and said that we must think about how their dedication is repaid after the coronavirus crisis.

The President discussed inequality in housing, health and childcare during a pre-recorded interview with Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late show.

Sitting in front of Áras an Uachtaráin's Starry Plough monument - which commemorates the 1913 Lockout of the Dublin workers - he spoke about how he feels the pandemic should be a time to reflect on how essential workers are treated.

Mr Higgins said: "To think for example that of all those infected 34pc are people who are delivering themselves into the shadow of the Covid every day, and not only that, but they have to leave home and leave their families and behind.

"These are the essential workers in society, without whom society couldn't function. We're paying tribute to them, and we're thanking them, but we wouldn't want to just leave it at that. I think we have to just ask ourselves a question. Have we underrated the contribution of these most important parts of our lives?

"So we need to really follow through and look in terms of both, how they are remunerated, the security that offered, the conditions that are asked to work and so on."

The president said that he hopes Ireland can use the coronavirus pandemic as a way to improve as a nation. He said that he has also enjoyed viewing things on an island of Ireland basis during the pandemic, that "there are no borders in the things we can do".

He continued to say: "The one thing you know that's going to come out of this, I hope, is that there's an opportunity to make a deep reflection.

"It is about reminding oneself maybe about that which hadn't been given sufficient attention about what is the nature of work what work could we not do without.

"We've just been talking about the kind of work that we need to survive, but it isn't only work to survive but work to flourish, because we have to really think about care.

"Is it not the case that care work for example, wasn't given the same status? It certainly wasn't remunerated enough.

"So, we should actually come out of the Covid having completely rethought out the importance of caring."

Online Editors