Civic Leaders Appeal To Sense Of Community And Solidarity

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THE people of Kerry can help to save lives by slowing the spread of Covid-19 but it will take an sustained and focussed effort from the entire community.

That’s the message from civic leaders and the emergency services across the county, who joined together to appeal to the public to continue to heed messages on social distancing, hand hygiene and other advice from the HSE.

An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive and Kerry County Council continue working together through long-standing cross-county major emergency structures involving agencies in Cork and Kerry to prepare and respond to the needs of communities.

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The joint message from the Mayor of Kerry, HSE representatives and senior Gardaí is clear – everyone must play a role in the days ahead to defend Kerry against the spread of Covid-19.

Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Niall Kelleher said it’s a time for community and solidarity: “I am appealing to the sense of community and solidarity for which we are renowned in Kerry. At a time of challenge and adversity, I am encouraging all our citizens to look out for the vulnerable members of our community, support our friends and neighbours and show solidarity with those on the front line who are working every available hour to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

“I want to express my solidarity and that of my elected colleagues with the business, retail and hospitality sectors at this difficult and challenging time. We have come through adversity before and we will do so again. For now, community solidarity and responsible individual behaviour are the priorities and with everyone working together in a spirit of community solidarity, we can prevail,” he said.

HSE management said they have been over-whelmed by the support from the people of Kerry to date. Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Ger Reaney, thanked the people of Kerry for their incredible support of all healthcare staff.

“We have been overwhelmed not just by the response of our own staff, but of the wider public. We cannot thank you enough for the offers of accommodation, time, and support for healthcare workers and we appreciate it more than we can tell you. It is very clear to us that all of Kerry is behind us and we are in this together. People have asked us what they can do to help, and the best thing you can do now to strictly follow all the advice on social distancing; staying at home if you are unwell, washing your hands and catching your coughs and sneezes.”

Gerry O’Dwyer, CEO of South-South West Hospital Group said: “South-South West Hospital Group would like to reassure all the people in Kerry and the surrounding region that we are working non-stop to deal with the impact of Covid-19. Every possible arrangement is being made and we would like to thank the public for their continued support in these unprecedented times. The SSWHG is very proud of our dedicated staff and how they have responded to this challenge. The best way to support them in the coming days is to keep your distance from each other and stay at home if you are unwell. We have one opportunity to do the right thing.”

Fearghal Grimes, General Manager of University Hospital Kerry said: “There has been a massive response from the people of Kerry to the challenge we are facing.  This is a difficult time, but we will get through this together – even if that means staying apart. As the weekend approaches, I appeal to everyone to remember the clear advice from experts on keeping our distance. Limiting our social contact now will save many lives. We still have time to interrupt transmission. Everyone can play a part, and everyone has a duty to do so.”

Dr Augustine Pereira, Director of Public Health for HSE South explained the efforts which all HSE services are involved in and thanked the public for their support.

“There has been a huge demand for testing, however it’s important to note that if you do not have any symptoms testing at that time is ineffective. We are working non-stop on contact tracing and making contact with everyone who has been in close or casual contact with someone who is a confirmed case of Covid-19. People have worked with us on self-isolation when advised, which goes a long way to keep the entire community safe. Now, we need everyone to take the advice on social distancing, hand-washing, and respiratory etiquette. If we have any chance to halt the spread of the virus, this is absolutely critical. I know that Kerry people will work together to keep everyone safe and I want to thank them for this incredible effort.”

Speaking at Tralee Garda Station, Chief Superintendent Eileen Foster said: “All units of An Garda Síochána are committed to and continue to support communities to reduce the impact of COVID 19. We have restructured the deployment of our resources, so we have the personnel available to respond to the policing needs of our community. The Kerry Division will see an allocation of eight newly attested probationer Gardaí to assist in policing and responding to the policing needs of our community.

“We don’t want vulnerable people to put themselves at risk. If any member of the public is in need of assistance, don’t be afraid to call your local Garda station,” she added.

One Comment

  1. Matty O'Leary says:

    There are still to many people going outside as normal. Limit your movements or we will end up just like Italy!

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