A pictorial tribute to Ireland's frontline healthcare workers 6 months ago

A pictorial tribute to Ireland's frontline healthcare workers


Francis Keane is taking us through a regular, 12-hour shift as an A&E porter at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin when he is interrupted.

Sitting in the front room of his home in North Dublin and wearing a Dublin GAA polo shirt, Keane had been enjoying the April sun when the call came. He is keen to get out to his garden and soak up some more when this talk is over.

The day before, Keane and his workmates took time out of their "busy, busy, busy" day, as St Vincent's treats an influx of patients with and without Covid-19, to pose for some pictures and help highlight frontline workers such as porters, cleaners, radiographers, catering staff and ambulance drivers.

"We all know that if we have to go in, we have to go in," says Keane.  "The lads have understood it. This needs to be done, so we’ll get on and do it."

St Vincent's has changed massively over the past six weeks, he explains, and the Covid section of the Accident and Emergency Department is now bigger than the A&E for other incoming patients. The nature of his job has changed massively too.

"Any contact you have with any patient," he says, "you’re coming out of one room, you have to de-gown. Then you’ve to go to another room and you have to gown back up. It’s a completely different way, now, than to what we were used to. Now we were taught it all, but it’s just changing day to day."

"For pig iron’s sake," he adds, "a job that would usually take five minutes - someone straight to X-ray - it’s now taking you 25 minutes, again you gown up and follow the procedure that’s in place."

The work goes on, and both Keane and his colleagues would not have it any other way.

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