COVID - One Year On - ‘People have pulled together amazingly’ - Donegal Cathaoirleach Rena Donaghey
The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Buncrana-based Councillor Rena Donaghey here pays tribute to all the brilliant work local people and organisations have been involved in over the past year.
I want to start by paying tribute to the commitment and contribution of all the frontline workers, and those involved in the maintenance of critical services for citizens during the pandemic.
Donegal County Council has been able to maintain the provision of essential services during the pandemic with staff adopting new working arrangements to ensure that services are delivered, and the Council has ongoing engagement with the HSE, An Garda Siochana and community and voluntary groups are co-ordinating the arrangements for the provision of services and supports to the community and businesses.
We also relied on the strong sense of community that was prevalent in the county. People were so good and everyone adopted to a new way of doing things, working from home, the distant learning.
When the chips were down people came out and did more than their bit. You had people doing shopping for old people, people making dinners, the gardai going to chemists delivering prescriptions, businesses and community groups making PPE. So much great work has gone on and continues to go on.
Last summer we had the staycation and people who had come to parts of Donegal they never knew existed, and we have found some people from cities are looking to locate to Donegal for all the benefits of living and working here.
I have been working very closely as Mayor of Donegal with Mayor Brian Tierney during COVID and we have had several meetings, and the our Council Chief Executives have a very good working relationship with each other and that is very important. While we talk about the border it is an imaginary border and there is still a lot of throughout, people from Northern Ireland working in Donegal, people in Donegal crossing the border every day to work in NI, for education purposes, for health reasons, to shop, and we want that to continue obviously keeping within the COVID restrictions. We also have the NW Strategic Growth Partnership which is unique and is aimed at bringing real and positive change for the NW City Region. We have achieved a lot and that work has continues. We recently met with An Taoiseach and that was a very frutiful meeting.
We see now the hope the vaccine brings. Northern Ireland is a prime example of that where the numbers were so high and it has reduced so rapidly. I believe that if we all do what we are meant to do now we can all enjoy the good things that we really want to do then later on, enjoy the beaches, enjoy the festivals, get to see grannies and grandas, but for a little longer we just have to stick by the regulations, and do what’s right.