Coronavirus: Taoiseach says “darkest days” may still be ahead, but that people are making a difference

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned that Ireland may experience some of its “darkest days” in the coming weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, but that better days will come if people keep their discipline and follow social distancing restrictions.

In a video message this Easter Sunday the Taoiseach thanked people for following the advice of health experts, saying that their efforts are making a difference in interrupting the spread of coronavirus.

However, he acknowledged that hospitalisations and deaths have continued to rise, and that it’s possible the peak of the pandemic is still to come later this month.

The number of people in Galway who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 caused by the coronavirus rose to 169 on Saturday, while the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic stands at 8,928.

The Taoiseach full address is below:

“This is a special time of year when we recall some of the special moments etched into our national story – the Easter Rising, becoming a Republic, the Good Friday Agreement.”

“And for many of us Easter is a special moment in the Christian calendar, marking the resurrection, the good news, and what it means for the world.”

“This Easter we reach another crucial point in our history in our fight against Covid-19.”

“Thank you for heeding the advice of our experts, for interrupting the spread of the virus, sheltering the most vulnerable, protecting our health service, and ensuring that the staff who work in it have not been overwhelmed so far.”

“Your actions are making a difference, and the spread of the virus is slowing. However the number of hospitalisations, and sadly, the number of deaths, continues to rise.”

“So we cannot lose focus. We cannot lessen our efforts. In fact, we need to redouble them for the next few weeks. It’s more important than ever that we persevere.”

“It’s possible that we haven’t seen the peak yet. When it comes, perhaps later this month, we will experience some of our darkest days.”

“So we need to maintain our discipline and resolve – in the knowledge that better days are to come.”

“So today – whether we have faith or not – let us remember the Easter message, a message of suffering and sacrifice followed by rebirth and renewal, and above all a message of hope, as winter turns to spring.”

“When this emergency ends we will mourn the dead, comfort the bereaved, and be together again”

“We will reawaken the sleeping giant that is our economy, our people will go back to work, and our businesses will reopen.”

“And taking what we’ve learned, we will build a better society at the end of this – a great society for a great people.”

“I’d like to finish with the words of the Capuchin Franciscan Brother, Brother Richard.”

“He said: ‘All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way, to how good we really are, and to what really matters.”

“Happy Easter. Cáisc shona dhaoibh go léir. Slán agus beannacht libh go léir.”