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Some heroes wield mops - meet the frontline defenders in coronavirus war

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Dedication: Cork University Hospital housekeeping staff, from left, Geraldine Barry, Fiona Grant, Ian Morey, Haylen Gaffney, Margaret Gallahue and Linda Heaney. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Dedication: Cork University Hospital housekeeping staff, from left, Geraldine Barry, Fiona Grant, Ian Morey, Haylen Gaffney, Margaret Gallahue and Linda Heaney. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Dedication: Cork University Hospital housekeeping staff, from left, Geraldine Barry, Fiona Grant, Ian Morey, Haylen Gaffney, Margaret Gallahue and Linda Heaney. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Ian Morey ends his 12-hour day by stripping off his clothes at the side door of his home. He puts them in the bag his girlfriend will have left out for him. He dashes inside to the shower for a thorough soaping, dons clean clothes and gloves, retrieves the bag from outside and shoves its contents into the washing machine on a hot cycle.

"I am very cautious. I shaved my hair the other day. I have young kids at home and my girlfriend is pregnant," he says. This is life on the front line for the often-unsung heroes in the war on the coronavirus.

In his sweeping lockdown speech to the nation, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar lauded superheroes in scrubs and gowns. Add to that the heroes who wield mops. Hospital cleaning staff are the first line of defence against the virus, the ground troops who move in to destroy it, clearing a safe path for the medical teams and patients following behind.


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