Irish doctors return from Australia

Irish doctors return from Australia

At a nearly deserted Dublin airport, nearly 100 doctors among 170 Irish citizens returned from Australia Thursday through the finish gates, returning home to work in Irish hospitals and help fight the coronavirus epidemic.

The “rescue flight” from Perth, Australia, connected via London and had been organized in recent days by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Zoey Lynch, one of the doctors who had worked in Perth, celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday by organizing a list with the names and passport details of Irish doctors who wanted to return home to work in hospitals during the global pandemic.

“I had about 60 to 65 names in 20 minutes, all Irish doctors living in Perth who wanted to return,” she told the Irish Times when she arrived at Dublin airport.

Dr. Zoey Lynch from Cabinteely, Dublin, returns to Dublin Airport from Perth, Australia. Photo: Crispin Rodwell / The Irish Times

On Wednesday, there were between 90 and 95 doctors on his list with seats on the return flight. The 170 Irish citizens on board the flight will now have to isolate themselves for two weeks.

Dr. Lynch graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in 2017 and after a year of internship at Saint Vincent Hospital in Dublin, he moved to Australia. Like many flight doctors, she was due to return to Ireland in July to begin medical or surgical training programs.

“We realized that if we didn’t travel quickly, we weren’t going to come back at all. We are all incredibly eager to get involved, take the lead here and take care of the Irish patients and our families, ”she said.

“I am proud of everyone and I also think we should be proud of our government in the way we have handled the situation so far, all the hospitals and the nation as a whole,” she said. declared.


Another Irish doctor who helped organize medical care on the return flight was Hillary Coyle (28).

“I have been a doctor in Australia for almost two years, I grew up in Galway, trained in Limerick and interned in St James’s … We all really wanted to come back and help everyone on the front line at home,” she said.

Speaking of working as a doctor during the coronavirus crisis, she said there was some fear. However, “it hit you in medical school, you don’t run away from things like that,” she said.

“We’re so happy to be on Irish soil, it’s an incredible feeling and now isolating ourselves and going back to work as soon as possible would be our goal,” she said.

Deirdre Ryan, another returning doctor, said Irish doctors working abroad had felt a “desire” to return home during the crisis. “There is a global pandemic, we felt compelled to act in our roles as doctors and the pressure to go home was to do it in Ireland,” she said.

The flight left Perth on Wednesday afternoon, then Aer Lingus chartered several flights to bring the Irish from London to Dublin, and the passengers on board included non-doctors seeking to return home.

Aidan Holmes, of Celbridge, Co Kildare, was waiting at the finish gate for his daughter Erin, 23, whom he had not seen in two years.

Erin, who was returning home on the flight with her partner Shane O’Flynn, had booked two flights while trying to return to Ireland for canceling them both.

“They had sent an email to the Perth embassy, ​​and they received a phone call to tell them” take your bags, your plane is there, “” said Holmes. “The worst thing for me is not being able to hug her,” he said.

There was no rush for a hug when Erin walked through the finish doors with her bags due to the demands of social distancing, and she will isolate herself in a separate room at home for fifteen days.

‘Very scary’

Having her daughter abroad during the coronavirus epidemic was “very scary,” said Holmes. “For a while we thought she was in the best place, but last week we realized that she was doing better at home,” he said.

Four young men, including one with a surfboard in hand, were among the other Irish citizens returning from Perth Thursday afternoon.

Eoghan Lally (24), John Mulhearn (23), Conor Leavy (25) and Philip Denmead (25) were traveling along the east coast of Australia when the global health crisis started to develop.

Philip Denmead, Conor Leavy, John Mulhearne and Eoghan Lally return to Dublin Airport from Perth, Australia. Photo: Crispin Rodwell / The Irish Times

Panics, job losses and travel restrictions hit Ireland long before the effects of the crisis began to be felt in Australia, they said.

“It all started very quickly, one day we came back from a beach (ET) everything started to close,” said Lally.

The four friends had traveled together in Australia and are now going to isolate themselves in a group for two weeks in an empty house belonging to one of their grandparents.

“We planned to stay in Australia until the end of March, then booked flights to Bali for a few weeks and flights to the Philippines, Hong Kong and Dubai. At one point, we had 11 flights on hold and the majority of them were canceled, “said Mr. Leavy.

This left the group with “thousands” spent on canceled flights and “not really” much hope of seeing full refunds other than airline credits, he said.