President Michael D Higgins has urged people to do their "almighty best" and redouble their efforts to avoid infection in a special message released six months after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

In this evening's address, the President said defeating the virus requires "positive commitments from us all".

We should encourage each other to envisage the "light that will surely come from all of our efforts when renewed and redoubled".

He said the fundamental values of solidarity, care, compassion and kindness would help us follow the guidelines and protect others in an "act of good citizenship".

"I believe that we must now, with our schools reopened, muster a fresh determination to give our efforts, as the late John B Keane might put it, 'our almighty best'."

President Higgins said we must address the "loneliness being experienced by those who have been cut off from contact with those who previously sustained them. We must acknowledge and address the loss of the social, economic and recreational practices that were their links to life."

While breaches of solidarity in our efforts to combat Covid-19 had "damaged" social cohesion, concerns about these breaches must not "dislodge us from our common purpose" of suppressing the virus by following public health advice.

Looking to the future, the president said the post-Covid economy "must have care as a central purpose" with compassion in both our use of language and the way we act. 

Read the President's full address

He hoped people would communicate with kindness and not "cold language that invokes fear". Rehearsing for "Doomsday" was unhelpful. "We must encourage each other and draw strength from that."

President Higgins concluded: "Let us all agree that the greatest act of appreciation we can show towards all those workers taking risks on our behalf in essential services, day and night, is to re-double our efforts to avoid infection. Let's do that together."