Northern Ireland news

Final school year 'gatecrashed' by Covid-19, says Archbishop Eamon Martin

Archbishop Eamon Martin has offered a message of encouragement to all Leaving Cert and A-level pupils

CORONAVIRUS has "gatecrashed" an important and special year in the lives of young people preparing to leave secondary education.

Archbishop Eamon Martin yesterday offered a message of encouragement to all Leaving Cert and A-level pupils.

He acknowledged their worries and concerns in both a video and letter.

A-levels due to take place in the summer have been cancelled although there remain plans for Leaving Cert exams to go ahead in late July, subject to public health advice.

Archbishop Martin told young people that they would not be robbed of their hopes and dreams.

He said the virus had failed to destroy goodness and love and had also brought out the very best in people.

"The Covid-19 emergency has turned our world upside-down, and everywhere it has brought feelings of isolation, anxiety and helplessness," he wrote.

"It has gatecrashed what is such an important and special year in your lives and has left you wondering, what happens next?

"Hold on to hope, as Pope Francis likes to put it `do not let yourselves be robbed of hope'.

"Some day you will look back on 2020 and tell your children and grandchildren about the way the coronavirus tried to spoil your dreams. I hope you will go on to decide how the opposite happened - it actually led to a strengthening of your character, your belief in yourself, your empathy for others and your faith in God."

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