The Taoiseach is “deeply disappointed” he will not be able to attend an event to commemorate those who lost their lives to Covid-19 after he tested positive for the virus while in Washington DC last week.
Micheál Martin may have to stay in the United States until March 26th after contracting the disease.
It means he will miss Ireland's National Day of Remembrance and Reflection, and the associated ceremony taking place in the Garden of Remembrance in north Dublin on Sunday.
The ceremony will remember all those who died during the pandemic and pay tribute to everyone who has contributed to the national effort to tackle the virus.
More than 6,600 people have died from Covid-19 in Ireland since March 2020.
Ahead of the commemoration, the Fianna Fáil leader said that healthcare workers deserve the nation’s “deep gratitude and respect”.
Mr Martin said the event is an “important moment” in the country’s effort to reflect on and come to terms with the trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It will be a poignant day for many, as we remember loved ones lost to the disease and as we remember all those others who passed away but couldn’t be grieved in the way we would have liked, or as they deserved,” Mr Martin said.
“The loss is enormous and it is profound, but we will come to terms with it in the same way that we have come through every other stage of the pandemic – as a community, united and there for each other.
“Recognising Ireland’s extraordinary spirit of solidarity during the pandemic is another key aspect of what today is about.
“In every section of our society, people dug more deeply and showed more resilience than they knew was possible.
“Countless acts of personal courage and quiet sacrifice saw our country through an unprecedented crisis and helped save many thousands of vulnerable lives.”
Mr Martin said that while everyone across the nation played their part, healthcare workers in particular deserve special thanks.
“Without hesitation and before we even understood the true nature or scale of the threat, they put themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us,” he added.
“Without complaint, they cared for our sickest and brought dignity and compassion to the most fraught and difficult situations.
“When science delivered a vaccine, they were on the front line and helped deliver one of the most effective national vaccination programmes in the world.
“They deserve and enjoy the entire nation’s deep gratitude and respect.
“The truth is that we do not yet know the full extent of the damage caused by Covid.
“Many among us are still struggling with the physical effects of the disease while the wider social and psychological impact of what we have been through will take years to properly understand.
“But on this, our National Day of Remembrance and Recognition, we can and should take comfort and reassurance from the fact that no matter how bad it ever became, our national spirit held firm.
“Our communities remained united. We looked out for each other.”
The ceremony will start at 2.30pm and will be televised live on RTÉ One.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and other members of the Government will attend.