31/05/2020 Comments are off Patrick Cole

President Higgins pays tribute to essential workers

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the contribution of frontline and essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Late Late Show, President Higgins said consideration needed to be given to how frontline and essential workers are paid, their job security and working conditions.

The President said: “To think that of all those infected, 34% are people who are delivering themselves into the shadow of Covid every day and I thought not only of them but they have to leave home and their families behind.

“And the others who stand behind, the people who do the cleaning, the postmen who go from house-to-house. These are the essential workers, society couldn’t function without them. We pay tribute to them and thank them but we wouldn’t just want to leave it that.

“We have to ask ourselves a question – have we underrated the contribution of this most important part of our lives? We need to follow through and look at how they are remunerated, their security and the conditions they are asked to work in. So that is why it is appropriate that we are discussing this in front of the Starry Plough, a monument that celebrates workers.”

On Saturday, SIPTU members Clare Geraghty and Vincent Kearns spoke to RTE News about the vital role of all health and essential workers on the frontline of the battle to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“The health system is like an iceberg, you never get to see what’s underneath…the kitchen, cleaners and porters don’t get recognised enough for the hard work we do.”

You can watch the full video here ↓