SDLP Lagan Valley MLA Pat Catney has called for a permanent memorial to those who have died from Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.
He was speaking after meeting bereaved relatives of those who have passed away as a result of the virus at Stormont on Monday.
Addressing the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr Catney said a permanent memorial should be erected to remember all those we have lost during the pandemic.
The Lagan Valley MLA said:
“It was a humbling and emotional experience to meet people who have lost loved ones during the pandemic at Stormont on Monday night. Relatives shared with me their stories of how they were unable to say a proper goodbye or hold the hand of those who had meant so much to them, it was incredibly moving.
“Thousands of people across Northern Ireland have lost family and friends as a result of Covid-19, it’s rare to meet someone whose life has not been affected by this awful virus in some way. The pandemic meant many were unable to grieve in the proper way or celebrate the lives of those they lost and this has resulted in deep wounds for many people.
“I believe it is only right and fitting that we erect a permanent memorial to those we have lost during the pandemic. It would be a proper way to remember people and show families that their loved one was not just a statistic during this terrible time for us all.
“We also need to explore a way of paying proper tribute to everyone who sacrificed so much during the pandemic. From health staff, teachers, delivery drivers and public transport workers a vast array of people have given so much and put themselves at risk to help us all get through this pandemic with as little disruption as possible.”