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Image / Editorial

Mary Robinson: ‘Covid-19 will exacerbate the problems of inequality and conflict’

21st May 2020

We asked influential Irish women around the world what they have learned since the pandemic began. Here, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, explains the impact of the virus on her work and her life

The Covid-19 virus impacted me on several different levels. As Chair of The Elders, the group brought together by Nelson Mandela, I realised that we would have to work even harder. Covid-19 would exacerbate all the problems of inequality and conflict we were working on. But we would have to do it in a different way.

 I could no longer travel to different countries to urge greater ambition to tackle the climate crisis, and I also had to think about how to deal with the immediate Covid crisis while still focusing on the looming climate crisis.

So I had to learn new tricks. I am not good at technology, but have painfully got myself up to speed on Zoom and other virtual platforms. The result is I seem to be working as hard as ever – and in between I insist that Nick and I take a good walk each day. I walk for longer than Nick, but we know the routine is vital.

Finally, thank goodness for the jokes and lovely musical videos that are flying around on WhatsApp!


Read more: IMAGE staff reflect on lessons they’ve learned in the last 9 weeks