'People will die' - Bishop of Limerick calls for people to 'review lifestyle' in coronavirus pandemic

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy
By Joel Slattery

The Bishop of Limerick has confirmed that all Masses - not just Sunday Mass - will no longer be held in public as the country continues to fight against the outbreak of Covid-19.

Bishop Brendan Leahy also called for people who aren't immediate family to avoid going to funerals.

In a message read out to parishioners at St John’s Cathedral in Limerick today, Bishop Leahy will say that "radical measures" are needed to combat the virus.

“For the sake of a few weeks, we need to make sacrifices," he said.

"Of course, we are afraid of cutting back in business and services; that’s completely understandable but we are at a point where it is now so evident that if we don’t take short-term sacrifice, we will hurt long term.

We will hurt economically but we will hurt from a health perspective. And people will die.

While the Bishop said the government hasn't called for a lock-down, people should reduce their interactions with one another, he added.

"Ireland is known for its good social cohesion. This is a unique, unprecedented crisis calling for us like never before to pull together to stop the virus spreading.”

While wanting to attend a funeral is understandable, to do so could "enter into the realms of recklessness", he said.

"Social distancing must be observed now as difficult as that is. Once this crisis has passed, and it will pass, another ceremony can be arranged for all those who should not now attend."

Bishop Leahy added that social media should be used to communicate with each other, instead of meeting in person.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024