LAST weekend saw a different way of honouring our frontline services as the ceremonies surrounding National Services Day – which was initiated in 2018 – had to be held in a more low-key manner due to Covid-19 restrictions. In previous years, the event on the first Saturday in September included a major parade through Dublin city as well as other forms of public engagement, but this year, in light of the pandemic, there was no parade.
However, that did not lessen the importance of the occasion, which honours frontline and emergency workers, including first responders of all types. At the ceremony in Dublin, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee, TD, commended the dedication and professionalism of frontline services, saying she was ‘delighted to have the opportunity to publicly thank them and all our emergency services for the quiet heroism of their chosen career.’
She referred to the fact that ‘the demands placed on our emergency workers have perhaps never been greater than this year, as we live through the Covid-19 pandemic. This has been a frightening and uncertain time for all of us.
‘But our emergency workers – despite any private fears they may have had for themselves or their loved ones – have continued to fully perform their duties and have indeed increased their efforts to support the public. We owe them, and their families, a deep debt of gratitude for their outstanding professionalism, dedication and care.’
As well as the likes of An Garda Síochána and prison staff, who the Minister singled out for special praise, there have been selfless efforts from medical personnel along with a range of volunteers across Irish communities who are also worthy of our thanks and appreciation.