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'The secret is - I never worried' - woman celebrating 104th birthday tells public to stay calm during coronavirus crisis

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Mary McGrath (104) celebrated her birthday this week during the coronavirus pandemic

Mary McGrath (104) celebrated her birthday this week during the coronavirus pandemic

Mary McGrath (104) celebrated her birthday this week during the coronavirus pandemic

ONE of Ireland's oldest citizens used her 104th birthday to issue a special Covid-19 message of solidarity to people.

Mary McGrath (104) celebrated her birthday by urging people not to worry - and to support their families, neighbours and community throughout the current crisis.

Mary, from O'Leary Place on Barrack Street in Cork, marked her birthday with full social-distancing controls because of the virus pandemic.

Having been born during the Easter Rising in 1916 and lived through the War of Independence, Civil War and then World War II, Mary said people need to have faith in the future.

"You couldn't advise people now - they are gone beyond it," she said.

"But I'd tell them not to worry. Everything will be smack smooth.

"The secret is - I never worried. I kept making friends. And I loved the pictures," added Mary whose cinema idols included Clark Gable and Henry Fonda.

She also admitted that, throughout her life, she indulged a sweet tooth and loved a sing-song.

The Cork woman has lived through every Government and Taoiseach in the history of the State.

Mary received a special tribute on her birthday from the Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor John Sheehan.

Four years ago, she received a special visit on her 100th birthday from one of her favourite singers, Finbar Wright.

Five years ago, Mary was treated to a special party at the Ballyphehane day care centre.

Now, staff have promised a special party for Mary once the Covid-19 restrictions are hopefully lifted next month.

"Happy birthday Mary - we miss you and will have some party when we get back (from lockdown)," nurse Mary Lombard vowed.

Online Editors