President Michael D. Higgins said that there would be some advantages from the COVID-19 pandemic that has adversely affected almost every country in the world, including the "unanswerable case" for universal basic services. 

President Higgins said, speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk, that the current Coronavirus crisis was an opportunity to improve society in Ireland and the rest of Europe. 

The unprecedented global response to the Coronavirus has completely changed the face of society in Ireland and Higgins said that Ireland must never return to what it was before the crisis. 

He referenced both healthcare and wealth inequality and said that the Irish people had already learned valuable lessons. 

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"We can’t just drift into some notion that we can recover what we had and that that would be sufficient. That game is over," Higgins said on the Pat Kenny Show. 

“When we come out of this, we will not be going back to the insecurity of where we have before.

"We have learned lessons in relation to healthcare and equality… in relation to what is necessary in terms of income and the necessities of life,” Higgins said. 

The President said that it was a "wonderful opportunity" to do things better and improve Irish society. 

“This crisis will pass - but remember there will be other viruses. We can’t let ourselves be in the same vulnerable position again.”

Higgins said that there is now "an unanswerable case both globally and regionally in the European Union, for having universal basic services." 

These services will be there to protect the people from similar events in the future, according to Higgins, and will ensure that people have what they need in everyday life. 

Higgins said that a similar response occurred after the Wall Street Crash in 1929 and after both the First and Second World Wars. 

“This is what happened after the wars, after the Great Recession in 1929… we need the best of thinking, and we may have to lay aside a lot of the assumptions and critically examine them to be able to take advantages out of this."

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