All the Longford men and women who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic were remembered during a poignant ceremony.
Last Friday, October 1, was designated by the United Nations as ‘International Day of Older People’, and in recognition of this, Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council, Cllr Peggy Nolan chose this day to remember those who died during the pandemic.
At a special ceremony in the Albert Reynolds Peace Park in Longford town, in a beautiful tranquil space by the river, Cathaoirleach Nolan unveiled a special plaque alongside a newly planted oak tree.
The ceremony was attended by elected members and employees of Longford County Council together with members of Longford Older Persons Council.
Speaking at the ceremony Cllr Nolan said, “It is very important that we remember all of our loved ones who passed away during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of whom, we felt, we could not mourn in the way in which we are accustomed to, or be there to support their families, all because of public health restrictions at the time.”
She continued, “The Albert Reynolds Peace Park is a wonderful community amenity enjoyed by so many and my objective is to create a quiet reflective space where anyone can sit quietly amid the hustle and bustle, and remember with love and gratitude, our loved ones, who passed away during this very sad period in our lives.”
Kitty Hughes, Chair of Longford Older Persons Council quoted from the words of St John Chrysostom: ‘Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever you are’.
She thanked the Cathaoirleach and employees of Longford County Council for this very thoughtful gesture and said, “In time to come, people will sit under this oak tree and will remember this turbulent period in our history and as the plaque says, hold all of our loved ones who lost their lives during the pandemic in our hearts.”
Chief Executive of Longford County Council Paddy Mahon also addressed those assembled, describing the location as a beautiful space and paying tribute to Cathaoirleach Peggy Nolan for driving the project forward. “I also welcome the opportunity this space provides, to reflect and remember the past and most importantly, our lost loved ones, while also looking positively towards the future as we hopefully turn the corner in the battle against Covid-19.”
Breen McGee, a member of Longford County Choir, who lost his sister Maureen during Covid-19, brought the ceremony to a conclusion by singing the beautiful hymn by Cardinal John Newman ‘Lead Kindly Light’.
National Memorial Forest
A special guest at the ceremony was John Keogh, a Dubliner whose sister Amanda ‘Mandy’ Keogh passed away at age 52 after suffering with Covid-19.
John’s way of coping with his loss was to work towards establishing a virtual memorial forest where all those who died of Covid-19 could be remembered as individuals and people, not just numbers. The forest is a place of peace where families can dedicate a tree to their loved one at no cost and create a living, lasting physical and virtual legacy for them.
John thanked Cllr Nolan, Councillor Padraic Brady and Longford County Council for their support and for planting the tree in the heart of Longford.
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