05 Jul 2022

Covid pandemic memorial woodlands suggested by Laois County Council

Covid pandemic memorial woodlands suggested by Laois County Council

Creating new woodlands as a way to remember loved ones lost to Covid, and mark the great contribution made by health workers and frontline workers, has been suggested by Laois County Council.

The suggestion is in reponse to a request by a Portlaoise councillor to erect a memorial in Laois to people who died with the virus.

Cllr Noel Touhy tabled his motion to the July meeting of Laois County Council, "that the council erect a monument or designate an area in remembrance of those who lost their lives from the Covid-19 pandemic"

"When we are reminiscing about those we lost, we go to a cemetery, and there you can talk to other people. We have a great tradition in the Irish wake, where people can say their goodbyes and show support. Unfortunately many lost loved ones, and the restrictions on funerals added another layer to their grief. 

"I suggest we designate an area dedicated to those we lost, to say we remember, we do not forget, and we care. Not just piecemeal but something worthy of the occasion," Cllr Tuohy said.

Cllr John Joe Fennelly seconded.

"The council will not be found wanting if there is funding from national Government," he said.

Cllr Aisling Moran agrees.

"I can see what Noel says, something like the plaza or Fitzmaurice place, a monument, a pond, a stone. They didn't get to grieve with others, it would be lovely to have something in each county," she said.

Cllr John King described the sadness of families forced to see their elderly relatives through the window of a nursing home, possibly for the last time.

"You could only see them through a window, that was a window of darkness," he said.

Cllr James Kelly likened the pandemic to the famine, or the struggles in 1916.

"It would be a fitting tribute if we did it, we could be a leading county on this," he said.

Laois County Council in reply suggests planting woodlands.

They said that there is not enough information yet from central Government on Covid memorials. 

They noted the Nurse a Tree initiative, an Irish Not for Profit organisation that is planting 80,000 trees for nurses in Ireland to give thanks and recognition to frontline healthcare workers.

"Creating woodlands is one possibility, to dedicate an area of such planting to those who died and those who cared for them," the council said in reply.

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