"Your country needs you"! Phenomenal response as 40,000 healthcare workers sign on to fight the Coronavirus COVID-19 in Ireland.

As the Irish health service gears up to fight the Coronavirus outbreak, on St. Patrick's Day they called on healthcare professionals who are not currently working in the Health Service Executive to be "On Call for Ireland". Already 40,000 people have signed on with some good folks even quitting their jobs on the other side of the world to come home and join the fight with Ireland.

The recruitment drive was launched, on St. Patrick's Day, along with the message: “Your country needs you.”

Read more: 25 health professionals leave Perth to return to help in Ireland

The HSE Chief Executive, Paul Reid, has said it is not yet clear how many of these applicants will be needed but it is anticipated that extra hospital and care beds will be needed to deal with the outbreak of this disease.

Reid said "We don't know at this stage the number of staff that we may need to call on and we're not sure for certain the kind of skills that we'll need to draw on.

"It all obviously depends on the impact of the virus and, indeed, the impact on our own staff in terms of sickness and absenteeism that will occur. Bear with us, we may be back to you very quickly or it may take some time but we really appreciate the applications."

Read more: Jameson, Powers and other distillers start to manufacture hand sanitizer to fight COVID-19

HSE HR director Anne Marie Hoey told RTÉ radio “The call was only put out at lunchtime on St Patrick’s Day so it has been a phenomenal response."

Fair play Dr O’Kelly. #oncallforIreland is something to behold!

'I couldn't stand on the sidelines and not help' - Retired doctor (72) volunteers in battle against coronavirus - https://t.co/5Gvzo2oo47 https://t.co/PSJ3xZ8qFl

— David Menzies (@David_Menzies) March 19, 2020

Among those volunteering to help is retired County Mayo doctor, Ken Egan, who has 50 years' experience in the field. The GP (general practitioner) who retired in 2015, told Newstalk it was "second nature to help out". 

He said he expected all his colleagues "who are walking and talking will be willing to help.”

Egan told the radio show, Newstalk Breakfast, he remembers treating tuberculosis patients, in Merlin Park Hospital. He also recalled that  in1956, the All-Ireland GAA final was deferred due to a polio outbreak. 

The retired doctor admited that his own family were concerned for his safety but he added that he didn't think he'd be on the front line and that "there will be plenty of work at all levels.”

Egan encouraged people to “stay at home and stay away from everyone”.

He added "You won’t get it on the wind. Let’s all smile, say hello and stay three feet away."

View this post on Instagram

So today, I cancelled my wedding. My dream day which I had been planning for months and it was all I was thinking about. I was heartbroken at first, I won't lie, but I realise there are bigger fish to fry. So now, instead of putting on my white wedding dress, I'm putting on my white nurse's tunic. Instead of sending off the last of the wedding registration process, I am sending off my registration to be on call. 🏥To be on call for my country. I am ready. I am waiting. ~ ~ We may be a neutral country, but I know there are so many of us willing to fight. And I do believe we are facing a war with an invisible force. A war we will win, shoulder to shoulder, together standing tall. This isn't a sympathy post, and I'm not looking for any bullshit hero praise. We are all heroes,in my eyes, and I have never been prouder of our little country. 💚🇨🇮 ~ ~ I am just here asking you to register too, if you can, in any shape or capacity. Medical or non- medical professional. Use your skills right now to those who need it-even if it's a phone call to your elderly neighbour. We are the country of saints and scholars and a highly skilled workforce. The more help we can get onboard right now,while it's not too bad, the better. 👏Go register now and wait. Wait for Ireland's call. ~ ~ https://www.jobalert.ie/view/be-on-call-for-ireland-hse-is-looking-for-healthcare-non-healthca ~ ~ #oncallforireland #nurse #irish #covid19 #irelandscall #shouldertoshoulder #proudtobeirish #togetherwestrong

A post shared by Máire Walshe (@coach_for_change) on

Another volunteer is Deirdre Mullins, an award-winning travel writer and television producer, who 12 years ago stopped nursing. She told Newstalk "once a nurse, always a nurse."

However, she also acknowledged that volunteering to work on the front lines would impact her home life and meant that she would have to stop seeing her elderly mother, for a while. 

These 40,000 volunteers have signed up as Ireland excepts to be dealing with 15,000 cases of COVID-19 by the end of March. On Thursday, March 19, the third death related to the disease was announced. There are now 557 confirmed cases in total. 

Previous generations had different challenges: wars, famine. This is our generation's challenge. I may be an old and decrepit nurse, stuck in academia for too long but I have more than 20 years' nursing experience. I have signed up to be #oncallforireland.

— Fintan Sheerin (@FintanSheerin) March 20, 2020

Read more: Guinness establishes €1.5 million support fund in Ireland during pandemic

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