'My world crumbled' - Liz Bonnin 'broken' over her mother's Covid death

Liz Bonnin

Caroline O'Doherty

Scientist and broadcaster Liz Bonnin has said she is "broken" after her losing her mother to the coronavirus.

In a hard-hitting social media post, the wildlife expert and environmentalist praised medical staff for their care and compassion during her mother's final days over Christmas.

However, she expressed her despair at the "mishandling" of the pandemic and her frustration that policymakers did not act on scientific advice.

She also pleaded for an end to the fear and division caused by misinformation and conspiracy theories and urged wealthy nations to wake up to the "futil- ity of prioritising economic growth over environmental and human health".

Ms Bonnin, who was born in France but raised in Ireland, is now based in the UK.

Her mother was in the care of the National Health Service there.

She said staff had shown her "how beautiful we humans can be - compassionate, dedicated, strong, selfless, brave, honest, empathetic - traits that as a society we seem to have forgotten we are all capable of as we continue to deepen the divides between us out of fear".

"I don't know how to start healing from the way Mum had to die," she said.

"What I do know is that she was a victim of the ongoing mishandling of the pandemic and the blatant misunderstanding of what it takes to contain the virus and, therefore, protect the economy.

"We didn't listen to and act on the science.

"My world crumbled as I watched her suffer the consequences of what we continue to prioritise in much of the global north at the cost of environmental and human health, in an age of blind partisanship, rampant misinformation and absurd conspiracy theories."

Ms Bonnin, who has a degree in biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin and a masters in wild animal biology, first came to prominence as a member of the girlband Chill. She then moved to children's TV.

However, she swapped the world of celebrity for science and has become one of the best-known faces in environmental programming, working for the BBC, RTÉ and Discovery Channel.

She recently joined David Attenborough in programmes on the climate and biodiversity crises and is president of the UK's Wildlife Trusts.

Despite her globetrotting career, she has retained close ties with Ireland and teamed up with Professor Luke O'Neill for a series of Science Week broadcasts on RTÉ last November.

She is usually protective of her private life but felt driven to address the issues raised by Covid and her personal loss.

"I dearly hope that in my lifetime we will wake up and reject our addiction to monetary gain and short-term political goals and recognise the true value of connectedness, community, well-being, kindness and caring for our planet and each other," she said.

'We didn't listen to and act on the science,' said grieving Liz Bonnin