Solemn ceremony of remembrance reflects on lives lost during Covid-19 pandemic

A solemn ceremony of remembrance for those who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic was hosted by Westmeath County Council, in the presence of Cathaoirleach, Cllr Frankie Keena, at the Athlone Civic Offices, on Sunday morning last.

Addressing the gathering, the Cathaoirleach noted his honour of being present on such a reflective occasion and paid tribute to those who continue to work on the frontline as the pandemic persists.

“I am honoured to welcome you all here today to the Athlone Civic Offices to partake in this event, one which is part of the national ceremony of remembrance and reflection.

“The ceremony will remember all those who died during the pandemic and pay tribute to our frontline personnel who continue to contribute to how the country faces this pandemic challenge.

“This horrific pandemic has touched all of us in some way and has been an ever present in our lives for the past two years. Even though the public health restrictions have been lifted it is unfortunate that this virus is still prevalent throughout our communities.

“For instance, on March 16 there were 5,452 confirmed cases in the country and hospital admissions remain high so it really is still very important for the public to continue with a cautious approach.

“The pandemic has impacted some people more than others and I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere sympathies to those who have lost loved ones on account of this virus. It must have been extremely difficult for family members to not have been allowed sit beside their loved one’s bedside during their final hours.

“We are present at the Athlone Civic Offices to pause in reflection and take time to remember those 6,600 plus people who have sadly died from Covid-19 in Ireland since March 2020. Every county in the country including Westmeath has suffered losses. May they rest in peace.

“We must pay tribute to those many frontline workers who have gone beyond the call of duty to maintain services in health, local government, law and order, and retail as we continue to go through this pandemic.

“In particular, workers at all levels in our health service have been under severe pressure. They are still continuing to work in a dedicated and caring manner to look after our most vulnerable during this pandemic. The amazing efforts of our communities who volunteered to help all those people in need due to this virus must also be commended,” Cllr Keena asserted.

The Cathaoirleach alo paid due tribute to the numerous community groups who united during the pandemic’s infancy to provide a source of support to the most vulnerable in society.

“The Community Call Forum united many types of service providers in the county including the Local Authority, the HSE, An Garda Siochana, An Post, Westmeath Community Development, Civil Defence, St Vincent de Paul and many other agencies, community and voluntary groups.

“The work of this group and the commitment of the participants must be recognised and commended. Their achievements in coordinating services and reaching out to our vulnerable communities and individuals played a tremendous part in helping people to get through the challenges. We have certainly learned that by working together we can overcome whatever challenges are presented to us as a society.

“I know that the past two years have been very challenging for all areas of society and I want to again thank all those who gave so much of themselves to ensure their fellow citizens were looked after in the best way possible,” Cllr Keena concluded.

“While this occasion is one for remembrance and reflection, it is also a day for looking forward with hope to a continued resumption of a normal life where we can once again congregate, remember, and celebrate our way of life and our love of community,” Cllr Keena concluded.


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