Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin has praised community spirit, Council staff, local businesses and voluntary and community organisations, in her Christmas message.
“I am delighted to have this opportunity to send a huge ‘thank you’ message to the people of Newry, Mourne and Down district after what has been an extremely challenging year so far. In my inaugural speech during the Annual General Meeting of Council in May 2020, I mentioned that I would be taking up the position of Chairperson of Council with an acknowledgement that this will be a term like no other, and amidst the global fight against Covid-19 in which we are still engaged. I remain focused that we will all continue to work together, to unlock the solutions to these challenges, and to do so with the warm, generous and compassionate spirit that permeates our wonderful district.
“The response to the pandemic by many communities, groups and individuals is a testament to the warm, generous and compassionate spirit that exists throughout our district. This spirit is found in our healthcare workers, teachers, parents, our tireless Council staff, places such as your local sports club, the volunteer in the food-bank or simply a person who is looking out for their neighbour and going that extra mile.
“With this spirit in mind, I am proud that in response to the early impact of Covid-19 back in April this year, that Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and its partners delivered over 700 food parcels to vulnerable and isolated residents across the district during the first lockdown phase; and this was only the start of more to come. More recently I donated to local Food Banks and charities to address the continuing need to support the many families and individuals facing hardship, not just at Christmas but, all year round.
“I am also proud of the frontline services by Council staff being maintained during lockdowns who have continued to ensure minimal impact on our services and the proactive work being with partners across all sectors to help enable business continuity, plan new delivery channels, develop new working practices and open new markets as we recover the district’s economy.
“I am only too aware of the many challenges we will face during 2021, but if the spirit, determination and generosity shown by many individuals, groups and communities during this year is anything to go by, then I am confident that the residents of Newry, Mourne and Down will embrace all challenges, and become stronger and resilient in the process.”
“Last, but certainly not forgetting, I would like to extend my endless gratitude to those who will be working over the Christmas Holiday such as doctors, nurses, care home staff, emergency services staff and those who give their time to help the homeless over the festive season. With the latest guidelines issued on Friday 18 December 2020, imposing a further lockdown from 26 December for six weeks, we must ensure we adhere to the guidelines to help reduce the impact on our invaluable NHS workers. I want to thank all of those who have followed Covid-19 safety guidelines to date, however imperfectly. Every time you follow the public health guidance and limit your contacts you are doing your bit and potentially saving lives; so please keep going and ensure to wear a mask, wash your hands and keep a safe distance.
“News that a Coronavirus vaccine has recently been approved brings some much-needed hope to us all at this time. However, we can’t be complacent in the months that it will take to roll out this vaccine, but it does show there is life beyond Covid-19.
“On behalf of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, I would like to wish each and every one of you a joyful and peaceful Christmas and hope that the New Year will bring prosperity, health, growth and recovery for us all.”