Cathal Berry TD calls on the Taoiseach to provide a Recognition Support Package for Frontline Healthcare Workers

In the Dáil recently, Independent TD for Kildare South, Dr Cathal Berry highlighted important issues with Taoiseach Michael Martin relating to frontline healthcare workers and voluntary staff. Deputy Berry has called on the Government again to provide a recognition bonus package to the frontline healthcare staff who have been working tirelessly since the start of the pandemic. This issue was previously highlighted by Cathal Berry TD back in January with Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar.


Deputy Berry commented, ‘Our hospital system is under severe strain and pressure at the moment. It is being felt by all our front-line healthcare professionals, including our doctors, nurses, paramedics, healthcare assistants and everybody else involved. They have been fighting this virus for almost two years now and are completely exhausted and burned out. They are used to making life-and-death decisions about their patients, but this is the first time that many of them are making life-and-death decisions about themselves. Even showing up for a shift in a hospital is exposing them to significant danger, suffering and distress.’


‘There was a lot of talk over the summer about providing a recognition package to our front-line healthcare workers for the extra stress they are under but that talk has dissipated since. There was mention of a small ex gratia payment and additional leave to assist in their recovery. There was even talk of an additional bank holiday to recognise the contribution of essential workers across the country and wider society. The morale of healthcare workers is really low at the moment, and they could do with a lift or a boost. A recognition package for our frontline healthcare workers is essential, they deserve far more than just another round of applause.’ Deputy Berry also called on the Taoiseach to provide some form of recognition for the voluntary, unpaid workers who are working in testing and vaccination centres all around the country. 


Deputy Berry has said that if an additional bank holiday is to be put in place next year, that it should fall closest to February 1st, St. Brigid’s Day. He commented, ‘as a TD representing the Kildare South constituency, St. Brigid’s Day is a great day for us all to celebrate the strong and important female patron saint of Ireland who spent a lot of her life here in Co. Kildare. I believe it would be a good option for the Government to choose which would allow us to celebrate the life and legacy of St. Brigid of Kildare as well as marking the beginning of spring.


An additional public holiday on St Brigid’s Day every year would be a great boost for Kildare. We are all in search of female role models to inspire future generations these days. Who better to choose than St Brigid – the feminist icon of her day? Making her feast day a public holiday would dovetail perfectly with the proposed “Brigid1500” celebrations planned for Kildare in 2024.’