An outbreak of Covid-19 occurred off the West Mayo coast which saw one in eight island residents test positive for the virus.
It is understood that about 20 residents of Clare Island, which is in the Westport Local Electoral Area, tested positive, making it statistically one of the most infected communities in the State. The island has an overall population of about 160 people.
A public health team recently travelled by ferry to the island to carry out Covid-19 tests on suspected cases with the assistance of two public health nurses.
During the busy tourism season last summer, the island managed to avoid any outbreaks of infection and was effectively closed to all outsiders for large periods of last year.
Brendan Tobin, a community development coordinator with Cliara Development Company, has said there has been a major impact on islanders, but they are remaining resilient and are grateful to have avoided a “catastrophe”.
“Covid-19 has been a big shock to the system on Clare Island, but the community has shown real resilience to provide a rapid response,” said Mr Tobin.
“The experience has shown the amazing resilience and community spirit of the island, but it also shows the need for recognition of the highly vulnerable position of island communities and the need for early vaccination of their frontline workers, elderly and vulnerable to avoid a catastrophe.”
He praised the role locals had played in stepping up to help with the running of essential local services, in particular, the role of the two public health nurses and other frontline workers on Clare Island.
“On an island with an elderly population like this one, it is important that people have their basic supplies.
“It is an amazing show of island resilience that locals have stepped up to do this in a way that ensures their neighbours and friends are kept safe,” he added.