President Higgins, speaking on an Irish radio program, has encouraged everyone to “take care, not only for yourselves, but for others."

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is encouraging the people of Ireland to go above and beyond in hopes of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

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President Higgins spoke on Irish radio program FM104’s Strawberry Alarm Clock with hosts Jim Jim and Nobby on March 25, the day after new restrictions were introduced and extended in Ireland.

President Higgins, who made special note of the young people of Ireland and their involvement with the more vulnerable, said: “I think it’s very very important that we speak to each other, because even if people have to be isolated from each other that doesn’t mean they have to lose contact.”

He continued: “The big message for this week, without a doubt, is this is a crucial week. If we give it a lash in what we're doing this week in terms of observing the 'physical distance,' when we're out doing things together and also in relation to the other recommendations about handwashing and all the rest of it. It means that what we do this week will have a huge effect."

“All sections of the population have their bit to do," he added, saying that even if there is "slippage" that it is important to “begin again and this week, do it better, and do it with conviction.”

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Looking ahead, the President said: "I think it's very important as well to say to people to concentrate on the time when it will be over. It will be over, but it will be over with the least loss of life and with the least hardship if, in fact, we do what is tough now but is necessary."

“Yes, it will be over, and we are in control of how it will turn out.”

President Higgins also said that the current crisis is a learning opportunity. “I see great changes happening after this,” he said.

Later, when asked what songs he might sing to himself while washing his hands, President Higgins said he’d normally opt for Leonard Cohen but admitted the singer may be “a bit too somber for the present circumstances,” so he instead is choosing Hozier.

When asked if he has a message for the frontline workers, President Higgins said: "I'd like to say thank you to them and the best thing, rather than just thanking them, is to support them. We can support them by keeping the strain on the services within manageable limits. So, everyone who is doing the distancing, everyone who is doing the handwashing, everyone who is doing the care and all the rest of it, is to some extent making the enormous mountain that they're having to climb that bit easier. But I do thank them, and I thank their families.

President Higgins went on to say that he believes "something very good is going to come out of this in a way," adding that the "decent instances of empathy and the wish to help another person" that are on currently emerging will help Ireland deal with other problems in the future as well.

Michael D Higgins said in closing: "Give it a lash this week. Do much more than the minimum and then we'll see. Who knows? In weeks to come, we'll be able to say we did our bit in reducing the burden." 

“Take care, not only for yourselves, but for others."

You can listen to President Higgins' entire discussion on FM104 here:

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In an exclusive interview with Jim Jim and Nobby on FM104's Strawberry Alarm Clock, President Michael D. Higgins says that "this is a crucial week" in what we are doing and that we must "give it a lash!" Listen to the full interview here.

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