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Heartbreak RTE presenter Liz Bonnin ‘broken’ over mum’s death from Covid-19

I don’t know how to start healing from the way mum had to die but what I do know is that she was a victim of the ongoing mishandling of the pandemic, and the blatant misunderstanding of what it takes to contain the virus and therefore protect the economy."

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Liz Bonnin

Liz Bonnin

Liz Bonnin

Scientist and broadcaster Liz Bonnin has said she is “broken” after her losing her mother to coronavirus.

In a hard-hitting social media post, the wildlife expert and environmentalist praised medical staff for their care and compassion during her mum’s final days over Christmas.

But she expressed her despair at the “mishandling” of the pandemic and her frustration that policymakers did not act on scientific advice.

She also pleaded for an end to the fear and division caused by misinformation and conspiracy theories.

And she urged wealthy nations to wake up to the futility of prioritising economic growth over environmental and human health.

Ms Bonnin, who was born in France but raised in Ireland, is now based in the UK and her mother was in the care of the National Health Service there.

She said staff had show her “how beautiful we humans can be - compassionate, dedicated, strong, selfless, brave, honest, empathetic - traits that as a society we seem to have forgotten we are all capable of as we continue to deepen the divides between us out of fear”.

She continued: “I don’t know how to start healing from the way mum had to die but what I do know is that she was a victim of the ongoing mishandling of the pandemic, and the blatant misunderstanding of what it takes to contain the virus and therefore protect the economy. We didn’t listen to and act on the science.

“My world crumbled as I watched her suffer the consequences of what we continue to prioritise in much of the global north at the cost of environmental and human health, in an age of blind partisanship, rampant misinformation and absurd conspiracy theories.”

Ms Bonnin, who has a degree in biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin and a masters in wild animal biology, first came into the public spotlight here as a member of the girlband Chill and then moved to children’s television.

But she swopped celebrity for science and has gone on to become one of the best known faces in science, wildlife and environmental programming, working for the BBC and other UK channels, RTE and international broadcasters such as Discovery Channel.

She recently joined forces with Sir David Attenborough in programmes on the climate and biodiversity crises, and was made president of the UK’s Wildlife Trusts.

But despite her globetrotting career, she has retained close ties with Ireland and teamed up with Professor Luke O’Neill for a series of Science Week broadcasts on RTE last November.

She is normally protective of her private life but felt driven to address the issues raised by Covid and her personal loss.

She said: “I dearly hope that in my lifetime we will collectively wake up and reject our addiction to monetary gain and short term political goals, and recognise the true value of connectedness, community, wellbeing, kindness and caring for our planet and each other.”

She added she would continue to get unbiased, science-based information about Covid-19 from trusted sources.

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