“A once-off public holiday, a Day of Remembrance and Recognition, will be held in memory of the more than 9,000 people who have died on the island of Ireland with COVID. This will be held on Friday, 18 March and means we will have a four-day weekend because 17 March, St Patrick’s Day, is also a public holiday. It will also recognise, and say thank you, to the volunteers, the Irish people, and to all the workers who gave their all in the fight against COVID. We decided to make this decision now on a public holiday, rather than wait until the pandemic is over, because so many have already given so much. It also roughly marks the second anniversary of the beginning of the pandemic in Ireland.