‘No Bank Holiday Break From Battle With Covid-19’ – Inter-Agency Statement

Covid-19 Traffic Restrictions with Garda Checkpoints at the Dooneen / Mick Galwey Roundabout outside Castleisland today as the Garda presence on the roads is being ramped up ahead of the bank holiday weekend.  ©Photograph: John Reidy 28-4-2020
Covid-19 Traffic Restrictions Garda Checkpoints at Dooneen / Mick Galwey Roundabout outside Castleisland today. ©Photograph: John Reidy 28-4-2020

An inter-agency statement from an Garda Siochána, Kerry County Council and the HSE to advise the public that the bank holiday weekend doesn’t mark a break from the hard work of dealing with Covid-19.

A warning from staff of the HSE, An Garda Siochana and Kerry County Council joined together this week for a photo demonstrating that they’re standing together – but still apart – in the county’s battle to keep Covid-19 at bay.

Keep up the Trojan Efforts

Doctors, nurses, mental health services staff, Gardaí and staff from Kerry County Council came together with one main message – asking the people of Kerry to keep up their Trojan efforts.

“We’re working so hard to make sure that essential services keep running despite the impact of Covid-19,” said Mary O’Mahony, areas director of nursing, Kerry Mental Health Services.

Stay at Home

Today, we’re asking the people of Kerry to support our efforts by continuing to stay at home where possible, and following all other guidelines.

Sadly, the more we move around, the more risk we create,” said Ms. O’Mahony.

Tempting to Think it’s OK

Majella Daly, Primary Care Service manager, Cork Kerry Community Health Care asked the people of Kerry to keep up the work which has been successful so far in flattening the curve:

“We know that at this stage it’s getting very hard to stay apart.

“With a bank holiday weekend coming up, it will be very tempting to think that it’s ok to ‘bend the rules’.

“Unfortunately, the risk of catching Covid-19 is still high and we still need everyone’s support. Everything you have done so far has made a huge difference – but it could all be undermined so quickly. Together, we have achieved so much. Now it’s up to each of us to keep that up that work,” said Ms. Daly.

Official Advice Still The Same

Dr. Herlo Coetzer, Emergency Department Consultant at University Hospital Kerry asked everyone to support frontline staff by staying at home:

“We have no option but to travel to work and to keep helping the people who need us. Please do everything you can to support us and stay at home.

Right now, the official advice is still the same so please follow that advice and stay home unless there’s an essential reason to leave. More people seem to be outdoors and interacting with others. While this is completely understandable, it’s so important that we stick with this for a while longer.”

Frontline Praise For People Of Kerry

The frontline workers praised the people of Kerry for the way in which they have faced Covid-19 as a community, and asked them to continue to work together and support each other in these difficult times.

The Mayor of Kerry, Cllr. Niall Kelleher added his voice to the appeal to everyone to stay at home, particularly over the coming bank holiday weekend:

“So much has already been achieved in flattening the curve and limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

No Room For Complacency

The sacrifices so far have contributed towards the national effort to stop this dreadful disease. I am appealing to people in Kerry to continue to stay at home, particularly over the long weekend.

There can be no room for complacency. The short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain. I send every good wish to the frontline workers in the HSE and across the public sector as the fight against Covid-19 continues,” he said.

Garda Checkpoints in Place

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn advised that many checkpoints will be in place in the coming days and over the bank holiday weekend.

“Operation Fanacht will once again see an extensive network of checkpoints established across the country until Monday night.

The operation will see large-scale checkpoints on both main and secondary routes and in towns and villages. This will support travel restrictions put in place to help flatten the curve and save lives.

There has been great compliance with the travel restrictions and we want to thank the public for this. The appreciation that has been shown to us frontline workers is outstanding and again I would like to thank you all.

However, it remains vital that you continue to play your part and stay at home if possible -this will continue to save lives,” he said.

Kerry’s Community Spirit

Kerry is known for its community spirit, and that spirit has been to the fore during the Covid-19 crisis, and Community Work Manager with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Hilary Scanlan thanked the community and voluntary sector across Kerry for their swift and generous response.

“The 32 Community Meals Services are delivering good quality nutritious hot  meals five and six days a week in urban areas and three and four days a week in the rural areas. Volunteers are supported by the GAA and Gardai to deliver meals, as well as groceries, fuel and prescriptions , there is hardly a mile of the county that is not covered,” she said.

Advice and Help Lines

The Kerry Community Response Forum phone line is on 1800 807 009 and runs seven days a week, 8am to 8pm. You can also text “SUPPORT” followed by your name to 50555 or email covidsupport@kerrycoco.ie

For video supports on how to manage with the emotional impact of Covid-19, see hse.ie/corkkerryhealthyireland or search for ‘Cork Kerry Community Healthcare’ on YouTube.