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Ireland as strong as its weakest link

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

The admirable sense of community spirit in the face of the threat to lives and livelihoods from the coronavirus Covid-19 is only as strong as its weakest link. However heartening it is to see society in Ireland pull together, while staying apart, there was evidence aplenty this weekend that not everybody is playing their part, particularly but not exclusively younger generations. This kind of wanton misbehaviour is nothing short of disgraceful.

Following a commendable address to a worried nation by the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar on St Patrick's Day, the Oireachtas last week moved quickly to pass stringent new laws, included among which are powers to confine a person to home. It would be unfortunate, indeed, for the authorities to have to use such powers, but use them they should if needs be as we enter the critical phase of the fight against the virus.

Nor should the wider public be under any doubt that this week and next is the critical phase, by which is meant the threat to the lives of many thousands of our citizens will become apparent. It is already evident that the threat to livelihood exists, with predictions now that unemployment could rise to 400,000 as a direct consequence of the virus.