The emergence and spread of the coronavirus is the single most pressing and significant challenge to the continuity of normal life since World War II.
However, the fundamentally disruptive and negative impact will reach far beyond the containment and delay phase. Upon unprecedented multi-government investment and collective global partnership, a widely deliverable vaccine can be expected in the short term. In the intervening period, I have confidence both in our health service to provide the highest standard of hospital care for those who require it and in the general population to take protective measures.
However, the true long-term impact of this Covid-19 crisis will be economic. Regardless of the introduction of wide-ranging supports for small businesses against the backdrop of procedures put in place to protect against a no-deal Brexit, it will not be possible for Ireland to suspend its economy. It is utterly inevitable that there will be substantial job losses and the permanent closure of thousands of businesses on a scale not comparable with that of the 2008 global financial crisis.
St Peter’s College, Co Wexford
Roosevelt’s words ring true in a time of global uncertainty
The words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at his inauguration, to a nation in despair, are as important today as then. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” The world now needs calmness more than ever.
Avoiding small gatherings isn’t child’s play for all of us
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced a ban on meetings of five or more people in Austria.
My wife and I have six children. The chancellor is 33 years old with no children.
Dr John Doherty
Modi deserves credit for a united fight against Covid-19
India today initiated a joint strategy with all other South Asian countries to fight the coronavirus outbreak collectively, and created a Covid-19 emergency fund for the region with an initial contribution of $10m (€9m). This initiative has received a positive response from all South Asian states. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been criticised recently for wrong reasons, has shown exemplary leadership in calling for regional co-operation to tackle the menace of coronavirus.
Lucan, Co Dublin
HSE could learn from what’s happened with trolley crisis
For many years the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has recorded the number of patients stuck on trolleys in Emergency Departments. It reported almost 600 at the beginning of March with a 90pc fall to 64 on March 13, with only 16 for the whole of Leinster – all of this in the middle of winter and a pandemic. Extraordinary outcomes will usually stimulate serious research and the HSE could learn a lot from this.
Dr Michael Foley
Rathmines, Dublin 6
It may be a sober occasion, but there’s much to celebrate
With the parades cancelled and the pubs closed on St Patrick’s Day, today could be a sober time this year. Likewise the writings of St Patrick were sober but on reading them they are also something to rejoice over. An English translation of the confession of St Patrick commences:
‘My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person and least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many. My father was Calporius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest (or presbyter), who lived at Bannavem Taburniae. His home was near there, and that is where I was taken prisoner.
‘I was about 16 at the time. At that time, I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others. We deserved this, because we had gone away from God and did not keep his commandments. We would not listen to our priests, who advised us about how we could be saved.
‘The Lord brought his strong anger upon us and scattered us among many nations. It was there the Lord opened up my awareness of my lack of faith. He guarded me before I knew him and before I came to wisdom and could distinguish between good and evil.
‘That is why I cannot be silent – nor would it be good to do so – about such blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity.’
May God bless us and lead us to repentance this St Patrick’s Day.
Hillsborough, Co Down