A pictorial tribute to Ireland's ambulance crews tackling Covid-19 4 months ago

A pictorial tribute to Ireland's ambulance crews tackling Covid-19

These men and women are traversing the country and seeing the good, bad, cruel and grim of Covid-19 in Ireland.

For weeks, I did not leave my housing estate by foot. The supermarket back-and-forth was the only time our car was run out.

From our back garden, you can very often catch the hum of traffic on the N7, a couple of kilometres away. For the past 10 weeks, that background noise has been removed.

Every now and then, though, you would hear a siren wail. My son would stop his game in the back garden for a moment, look at me and sadly ask, "Virus?" I would nod my head. "Maybe... probably."

For the past two months, we have been a block of ice.

Compact, rigid, holding steady. As a nation, we have retreated, pulled tight and supported those on the frontline by keeping our circles as small as possible. By limiting travel and contact. By going against our nature.

With the curve of Covid-19 cases flattening, Ireland seeks to go through the phases and return to a version of the life we left behind on March 12. The block of ice is melting. Normality is trickling back.

What many of us will remember, in the months and years to come, was the eerie calm and stillness of the days. Silence broken by bird song, a dog's bark or those wailing sirens.

Paul Quinn and Clare Fitzgerald from the HSE National Ambulance Service. (Credit: Ian Boyle, JOE)

Since mid March, our focus has fallen on our frontline workers. Those essential workers that have kept the country ticking over while the rest of us try our best to play a role from our homes. These men and women were doing the same job on March 11 as they were on May 11, it is only our sense of gratitude that has changed.

On a trip to Tallaght University Hospital for a series of photographs of frontline workers, JOE was fortunate to capture images of Clare Fitzgerald, Paul Quinn, Sean Gibson and Kevin Gill, a crew providing pre-hospital services to the public with the Health Service Executive's National Ambulance Service. The crew had a message they wanted to convey:

'We want to thank the public for their efforts during Covid-19 so far, and wish to remind everyone to keep up the great work; wash your hands, cough into a tissue or your elbow and continue to social distance.'

Simple yet clear. We will do our part. Please do yours.

The following images, taken by JOE's Ian Boyle, are part of a pictorial essay in tribute to Ireland's frontline workers.

Clare Fitzgerald, Paul Quinn, Sean Gibson and Kevin Gill

Advanced Paramedic Kevin Gill

Paramedic Clare Fitzgerald

Paramedic Sean Gibson

Advanced Paramedic Paul Quinn

Sean and Kevin