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Bishop Denis Nulty’s statement on the deaths of eight residents at St. Fintan’s Hospital, Portlaoise.

News broke last evening of the coronavirus related deaths of eight residents in the Maryborough Centre at St. Fintan’s Hospital in Portlaoise. This news brings home to us in a very dramatic way the huge need for special care for those who are grouped together in similar centres or in homes for vulnerable or older people.

We pray for those who have passed away in such distressing circumstances.
We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the deceased.
We give them and all who have worked to care for their loved ones the assurance of our prayers.

A very special word of thanks to all who work in any capacity in caring for
those who have contracted or are threatened with this terrible virus –
management, medical and nursing staff, carers, general workers in those
centres and hospitals, suppliers and those who deliver those supplies to
meet the many varied needs at this time of crisis. The hearts and hands of the staff are the hearts and hands of family to many many patients at this time. It is imperative that the best possible treatment is made available to those who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 and that staff working in these homes and facilities are equipped with a sufficient and proper supply of PPE. Every life matters. Every life counts. Every life is precious irrespective of age or potential productivity.

In the nightly news reports, we hear many statistics that may confuse us. I am conscious that we might lose the person that is behind every statistic – this is someone’s mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, son, daughter or friend. I am reminded of the very evocative poem composed and recited by a listener in memory of her recently deceased sister, on Joe Duffy’s Liveline earlier this week ‘My sister is not a statistic’. And neither is she or anyone who dies because of Covid-19 or who has tested positive.

During Easter week, we must all turn in confidence to the Risen Christ and
pray that he will soon bring these threat-filled times to an end, knowing that he walks with all of us and always calms our fears.

+Denis Nulty