THERE is no doubt Fermanagh’s the Covid crisis has been a tragedy, with local lives lost and the county’s economy left in tatters. However, believe it our not, the pandemic may actually lead to some positive and much needed changes in the county.
In fact, with the transformation across the whole of society in recent months, our low infection rate, rural isolation and close knit community here in Fermanagh is quickly becoming a sought after advantage.
One possible upside will likely be the impact the pandemic has had on our local health service, where cost cutting measures set aside and scores and scores of additional staff have been recruited to deal with the influx of patients.
Head of the WesternTrust, Dr Anne Kilgallen, has vowed that the Trust hopes to permanently retain as many of the additional staff, including the many student nurses and doctors, as possible.
Then there is the community aspect. Since the crisis began the pages of this paper have been filled with countless tales of goodwill and neighbourly support. The pandemic may have kept us apart but, as has been said many times, in ways we have never been closer together.
Another surprising possible advantage that may result from the societal changes sparked by the pandemic may be in the local property market.
For many years Fermanagh, with its beautiful landscape and state-of-the-art hospital, has been popular among pensioners relocating. However, with jobs in short supply, many of local young people and families have been forced to move away for work. Covid may change all that.
“People’s circumstances have changed and people are going to be looking to work remotely. Places like Fermanagh are going to benefit from that because they will not be having to travel to Belfast, for example,” said local estate agent Niall Smyth, who said the county was a great place to live for families.
“There are maybe people who would have liked to moved to Fermanagh but they couldn’t before. If they are able to work from home, that will change their whole dynamic. They will be able to come home and work here.”
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Posted: 9:02 am July 1, 2020