Message from Ambassador Ó Floinn to the Irish Community
News09 April 2020
Daffodils at Easter in the Embassy Garden
As we approach the Easter period, I wanted to express the hope that you, your families and loved ones and your friends in Italy find a way to relax after what has been a very difficult few weeks for this wonderful country. I am conscious, of course, that despite some encouraging trends the situation remains very serious, particularly for those who are still directly struggling with the Covid-19 virus.
We are all aware that for too many in this country the past few weeks have been a period of tragic loss and bereavement, often without the opportunity to grieve properly. To all those who have been affected in this way, may I offer the deepest condolences of all of us at Ambasáid na hÉireann, the Embassy of Ireland.
In the midst of the suffering of recent days, we have all been inspired by the extraordinary bravery of those fighting the Covid-19 virus in the Italian healthcare system, from the doctors and the nurses to the porters and the ambulance personnel, supported in a variety of ways by the security forces. Perhaps our understanding of the vital work that many others do in society in keeping critical supply lines open has also been enhanced.
My colleagues and I in the Embassy have, of course, been reporting back to home on the situation here in Italy and Ireland and other countries, particularly in the European Union, are learning all the time from the Italian experience.
President Michael D. Higgins has written to President Sergio Mattarella in recent days to express his solidarity with Italy and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar supported the need for further concrete action in the European Union by co-signing a letter with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and seven other EU leaders in advance of the recent European Council. I know that the Irish community here in Italy joins in this strong sense of solidarity between our two countries.
I would like to assure you all again that the Embassy remains operational within the current constraints. As previously notified, the public office is closed until further notice but you can email us or call us at (+39) 065852381. In case of emergency outside of normal office hours, you can also use this number. You can also follow our regular Twitter updates @IrlEmbRome
This Saturday, the Embassy will place a candle in a window as part of the Government of Ireland’s Covid-19 Community Call “Shine your Light” national solidarity initiative in partnership with our national broadcaster, RTÉ. The candle will also symbolise how there is always a “light on” in our Embassies for Irish citizens abroad. The Irish community abroad are also very welcome to participate on social media using the hashtag #shineyourlight. There will be coverage of this initiative on RTÉ One television/RTÉ Player at 22.00 (Italian time), Saturday, 11 April.
I hope that you all have a peaceful and happy Easter even at this very difficult time.
Cásca shona daoibh go léir. Buona Pasqua a tutti voi.
Colm Ó Floinn
Ambasadóir na hÉireann, Ambassador of Ireland, Ambasciatore d’Irlanda