Donegal Senator Eileen Flynn had a special message for the Traveller community in the lead-up to Christmas, urging people to follow public health guidelines to keep themselves and each other safe from the coronavirus.
Independent Senator Flynn said: “This Christmas, it is very important for all of us that we all protect each other by washing our hands, staying two metres apart, wearing masks and coughing into our elbows or a tissue.
“I know it is particularly difficult this time of year, but for all our safety we have to meet fewer people. Now is not the time for weddings, parties, or large gatherings. We should avoid crowds, indoors and outdoors.”
The senator said public health advice is crucial for everyone to follow.
“We all have our part to play,” she said.
Senator Flynn said if people have been socialising in the past few weeks or over this weekend, they should consider their Christmas and New Year plans very carefully.
She said: “Coronavirus is very contagious. If you have not been keeping your contacts low, is it responsible to meet with family members over age 65 this week? Should you cancel your plans?
“As hard as it may be – and I know it will be hard – staying away from older family members this Christmas can protect them.
“The best Christmas present we can give the people we love is to stay safe and to help them stay safe. It is never too late to cut down on your contacts, or avoid a crowd, or even cancel plans.”
She said: “By choosing to act safely right now, together we can limit the impact this virus will have in the weeks and months to come. We can protect vulnerable people.
“I know how hard this is on every one of us. But it will save Travellers’ lives.”
There is a new helpline to deal with coronavirus questions for Travellers, organised by the Traveller organisations in the Midlands with the support of HSE Midlands Traveller Health Unit.
People can phone or text the helpline on 083 100 6300.
Senator Flynn said: “I urge everyone to follow the advice of public health professionals, and I wish you and your loved ones a safe and lovely Christmas, and many more. Hopefully the year 2021 will be a year of celebrations.”