Dear Members & Friends,
A very Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!
This year will find all of us celebrating this special day much differently than we have before. Our thoughts and hearts are with all who are affected by the pandemic crisis around the world.
However you chose to celebrate your Irishness - wherever you are - we know your Irish spirit and warmth will shine brightly.
Below you will find St. Patrick's Day greetings and important updates from Ambassador Kelly.
Be kind and take care of one another during these difficult times.
A chairde, friends,
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh go léir. St. Patrick’s greetings to you all.
While St. Patrick’s Day 2020 isn’t quite the celebration we had anticipated, it is still important that we celebrate our National Day with you in some small way, even if it is virtually! So if you get a chance, please do check out our Twitter (@irlembcanada) or our Instagram (irelandincanada) to see what we’re up to today. Our friends in Tourism Ireland (@GoToIrelandCA) are also sharing photos of Canadian greenings – a small respite at least from these testing times.
I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about the changes we are making in the Embassy in respond to the COVID-19 situation. Our top priority is, of course, the health and well-being of our citizens and staff alike, and so while we are working in a restricted capacity to allow for social distancing, we are and will be here for you, ready to offer guidance and assistance to our diaspora in Canada.
We would strongly encourage you to keep a close watch on our website over the coming days and weeks for important updates. Here you will find the latest information on travel advisories, the COVID-19 situation in Canada and Ireland, and information on how we will be working in the Embassy over the next few weeks. This information will also be posted on our social media (Twitter - @irlembcanada, Instagram – irelandincanada), and I would also encourage you to follow the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Twitter (@dfatirl), as well as the Department’s dedicated travel advice Twitter account (@dfatravelwise).
We are also strongly advising all citizens to download the TravelWise app to your phone, which will allow you to get the latest travel alerts and updates.
For information on each province’s response to COVID-19, including links to health services, please keep an eye on the following websites: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.
Many of you will have watched or read the St. Patrick’s Day greeting from President Michael D. Higgins, and if not, it can be found here (English version) and here (as Gaeilge). In his 2020 St. Patrick’s Day message, President Higgins called on Irish people to work together “in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation” to confront the global spread of the coronavirus. We can all play our part to help “flatten the curve” in the period ahead, but we know that these will be particularly difficult weeks for the most vulnerable amongst us. Echoing the President’s sentiments, I encourage you to do what you can to assist your elderly neighbours and friends in these uncertain times, while taking good care of your own safety and wellbeing.
It's important too to remember that ‘social distancing’ should not mean ‘social isolation’. Fortunately, technology today provides more ways than ever to stay in touch with each other.
We strongly encourage you to connect with friends and family whatever way you can, whether by a video call to your friends, watching movies with other people online, phoning someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, or sending those “catch up” message that you have been too busy for up to now. I know too that even with technology, social distancing can feel very lonely for some. If you find that your mental health is being affected by everything that’s happening, our friends in the Irish Canadian Immigration Centre have a list of mental health resources that you might find useful.
We are fortunate here in Canada to have a strong and close knit community, and we know that these difficult times will pass. In the meantime, take care of yourselves, and each other, and I look forward to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with you all in the future.
Le gach dea ghuí
Ambassador of Ireland to Canada