‘It changed our world – and not for the better’

Outgoing Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Niall Kelleher (right) presenting a certificate of appreciation to Chief Superintendent Eileen Foster and her colleagues at Tralee Garda Station.

IN his last official duty as Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Niall Kelleher today presented certificates of recognition to the management and staff of University Hospital Kerry and to An Garda Siochana to acknowledge the great work of all frontline heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Certificates will also be presented to other frontline staff in appreciation for their great work and dedication over the past four months.

Cllr Kelleher, who passed on the chain of office to Fine Gael’s Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen at today’s annual general meeting of the council, said the coronavirus not only seriously curtailed the local authority’s activities but it changed the world – and not for the better.

“My heart goes out, totally and absolutely, to the heartbroken families who have lost loved ones due to complications associated with Covid-19. My thoughts are with those who have been infected by the deadly virus and those who are struggling to come to terms with what it has brought into their lives and into their homes,” he said.

Cllr Kelleher said nothing could have prepared people for what they have experienced since the pandemic commenced and it is his sincerest wish that they will never have to go through anything like it again.

University Hospital Kerry General Manager Fearghal Grimes (left) received a certificate of appreciation from Cllr Kelleher on his last day as Mayor of Kerry. Pictures: Kerry County Council

“My thoughts today are also with the wonderful band of everyday heroes who are working on the frontline. I think of the medical personnel and all other staff in our hospitals, care homes and in the community, the ambulance crews, emergency services, first responders, pharmacists and family doctors and their staff, community health workers, management and staff in supermarkets and other essential services and all those – far too many to mention – who have played their part in helping others during what has been the most difficult and most worrying period of time in all our lives,” he said.

He also thanked the executive, management and staff of Kerry County Council and the municipal district councils for the magnificent way they responded during the pandemic.

“The Kerry County Council led community support initiative, led by our CEO Moira Murrell and supported by so many other wonderful organiations, groups and volunteers, played a huge role and had a powerful impact over the past three months and more and I thank each of every one of those involved for their truly wonderful contributions,” Cllr Kelleher stated.

“Thank you too to the people of Kerry, the vast majority of whom adhered faithfully to public health guidelines and behaved so responsibly and maturely throughout the crisis.

“I know it was so very difficult for people to have to stay behind closed doors in their own homes, separated from their families, their children, their grandchildren and their friends and not even being able to enjoy a short stroll for so long.

“I know it was so difficult too for children and young people to be away from their pals and from their normal routine and my thoughts go out, in a very special way, to those who have lost their jobs and to exam students who faced such uncertainty and endured so much stress as they attempted to plan for their future,” Cllr Kelleher stated.

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