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The Cabinet (restricts movements). The Oireachtas adjourned: Not taking the crisis seriously enough? September 15, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Breaking news on the day that they release a ‘roadmap’ for ‘living with the virus’ for the next 6-9 months:

The entire Cabinet has to self-isolate and the Dáil has been adjourned, the Ceann Comhairle has announced.

It comes after Stephen Donnelly, the Health Minister, felt unwell this afternoon and contacted his GP for a Covid-19 test.

Mr Donnelly took part in a press conference this morning announcing the latest Covid-19 plan to deal with the next six months.

And:

Therefore, he said the possibility of proceeding with business does not arise and the house stands adjourned until Tuesday next, or until “I am directed by the Taoiseach to reconvene”.

The Dáil is now adjourned until further notice.

They then retreated from that and decided:

It is understood that members of Cabinet will restrict their movements rather than self-isolate.

After an earlier adjournment of the Dáil for one week, RTÉ News understands that the house will now return this evening.

But whatever, the situation remains absurd.

Am I alone in feeling that we’ve seen a remarkable lack of consideration of the seriousness of the crisis (and sheer virulence of Covid-19) in recent weeks and months by political leaders, parts of the media and commentariat and some sections of business (though with honourable exceptions in all those too). The farce of the debate around reopening pubs in the midst of numbers that have risen very very fast – 357 cases this evening, 3 further deaths, says it all.

It’s as if by an act of will somehow the reality of the virus can be ignored. Well, we see how that’s working out now.

For an example of the above consider this:

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan earlier said the suspension of the Dáil for one week because of concern about one Cabinet minister was not a proportionate response.

In a tweet, he wrote that Minister Donnelly and his close contacts should be tested, and junior ministers should deal with Government business.

“Governance of the country can’t come to a standstill because of 1 suspected outbreak,” he added.

Governance won’t come to a standstill even if the Cabinet in its entirety has to self-isolate. And what happens if that is a confirmed outbreak. Then, and this is the health guidelines, those in close contact do have to self-isolate, whether O’Callaghan likes it or not. Indeed it’s this mentality of pretending that those precautions aren’t necessary which is part and parcel of the problem and explains just why it is possible that a Minister might catch this disease.

And if he does? Well that’s a massive failure on the part of those who are tasked with keeping the state and its citizens safe to keep themselves safe.

Comments»

1. gypsybhoy69 - September 15, 2020

Guardian has it that he’s tested positive!

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WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2020

Jesus Christ. Words almost fail me. I’ve watched this for the past month or so, meetings between pols etc where they have not been social distancing properly, a relentless ‘back to office’ kind of subtext from some of them and just been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And the day they release a ‘roadmap’ for the future they demonstrate their own inability to keep themselves safe. What hope for the rest of us grunts? It’s almost beyond credibility.

Liked by 3 people

Joe - September 15, 2020

they demonstrate their own inability to keep themselves safe.

Ah now. Nobody can 100% keep themselves safe. I think it’s dodgy to point the finger at someone who gets the virus and say it’s their own fault.

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WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2020

On the one hand I get where you’re coming from, one doesn’t want to victim blame. That said one would hope that they would be taking the best precautions given the situation and as noted above in photos (Johnson meeting Martin etc, etc), events (Hogan et al) and so on we see a lack of precautions that is troubling. Though again it points up as though it were needed how contagious the disease is

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WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2020

By the way one other thought. Many companies are taking basic precautions in terms of staff by breaking them up into smaller groups located in different places. Interactions are by Zoom. It strikes me that having the entirety of the cabinet meeting corporeally is probably not a great idea. In 2017 there were incorporeal meetings over the phone for the then Finance Bill. I do not understand why that would not be possible using Zoom or similar at this point. At a minimum it would provide an additional level of protection so the danger of the entire Cabinet having to isolate would be avoided.

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Paul Culloty - September 15, 2020

Though they have corrected that now, it would seem:

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Paul Culloty - September 15, 2020
gypsybhoy69 - September 15, 2020

Not on the app on my phone. Still appears in Corona virus live feed.

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gypsybhoy69 - September 15, 2020

Guardian – fake news! 🙄

Liked by 1 person

2. NFB - September 15, 2020

Helen McEntee finds out she’s supposed to be restricting her movements while being interviewed for RTE. “That’s news to me”. I think it’s fair to say whatever confidence the people had in the government to handle this properly has been pissed away for good.

It is now being talked about in my place that businesses in the same industry who had people test positive got only radio silence from the HSE over what to do with their larger staff/clients. Think there is a desperation to not have to tell anywhere to close.

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WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2020

That’s it, it’s desperation. ‘Must carry on’ sort of stuff.

Politically this is dynamite in a way. I’d thought things looked a bit shaky but this is serious.

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NFB - September 15, 2020

“But the pubs!”

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WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2020

🙂 or perhaps that should be 😦

But yeah, it’s crazy stuff. In a way it’s a testament to how unable they were to reopen in very clear, and absolutely unambiguous, steps that were not to be rushed. Burned through a lot of support that is essential in suppressing this thing by not doing so.

Liked by 1 person

3. CL - September 15, 2020

“More than €8.72m has been spent by the Government on Covid advertising since the start of the pandemic, it has been revealed.

It comes as Taoiseach Micheál Martin moved to distance himself from a Department of Health decision to hire a private PR firm after criticisms about mixed messaging around Covid….
Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane hit out at the need to take on a PR company when the Government and Department of Health already employs a large number of staff to deal with media and communications.

“It’s up to the Government and it’s up to the Department to be able to draft the plan, produce a plan, and then launch a plan, without having to hire PR consultants to help them along the way,” said Mr Cullinane….
Mr Martin prompted more confusion yesterday when he suggested Teneo would not be involved in Tuesday’s launch.

“That PR firm isn’t directly dealing with the Government-wide launch of the Covid plan,” Mr Martin told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics.”
https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40048235.html

“The Government hires a PR firm to launch their new plan & still make a mess of the press conference. They also refused to allow any time in the Dáil to debate & scrutinise the plan. It was almost impossible to create even further confusion & yet they managed it” D.Cullinane
@sinnfeinireland

“Teneo has assembled experts from our Security Risk, Geopolitical Risk, Crisis Communications, Investor Relations and Management Consulting teams to help clients quickly and effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis in order to protect employees, mitigate the impact on their businesses, and communicate effectively with all stakeholders.
Our teams are also advising clients on the development and execution of strategic initiatives to help them navigate both the short and long-term operational, financial and geopolitical consequences of COVID-19.”https://www.teneo.com/service/covid-19/

“Coronavirus loves confusion, disunity, and a lack of direction, to help it circulate.
People will make up their own mind as to whether today’s long-heralded document has set out the path ahead with necessary clarity.”
Fergal Bowers, RTE.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2020

That’s just weird about a private PR firm brought in. But telling.

Liked by 1 person

CL - September 15, 2020

“Ms McDonald said the central plank that is crucial to managing the public health crisis is testing and tracing and, she said it was missing from the Government’s plan….

Ms McDonald said that in the absence of this being sorted out, the Government runs the risk of lapsing in and out of additional measures and lockdown with all of the chaos and hardship and economic consequences that this would have.”
https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/0915/1165343-covid-plan-reaction/

Liked by 1 person

4. alanmyler - September 15, 2020

3 deaths and 357 new cases today. Clearly whatever strategy the government is following is not working. They need to be standing up against business interests and closing things down again until the numbers stabilise again. Too many people are ignoring the stats, including the politicians.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2020

That’s a shocking number, and one has to imagine had the wobble over the Cabinet not occurred something more might have been made of it.

Liked by 1 person

5. NFB - September 15, 2020

Donnelly tests negative. The optics of him getting a result so quickly is going to be another headache for a government that stopped testing people in meat plants.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - September 15, 2020

Absolutely and one more straw in the wind that the government is oddly rudderless.

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Alibaba - September 16, 2020

My first instinct was to ask: where did Donnelly get his test results from and why did this happen within hours? All pigs are equal … But that’s not the issue. There needs must be a priority listing and Cabinet members should be on that. So too should frontline workers and patients in hospitals, those in care homes and anybody providing essential services or those with serious underlying conditions as well. The stopped testing in meat plants and manifest lack of capacity only makes it so much worse.

Liked by 1 person

6. CL - September 16, 2020

“This new group – to be called the Covid-19 Oversight Group (COG) – will, in effect, second guess any recommendations put forward by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and vouchsafe whether they are practical enough to be implemented by the Cabinet when viewed against wider societal and economic impacts they might have.
Those fans of the British TV comedy series of years ago, Yes Minister, might be justified in seeing this as another example of the time-honoured practice of governments avoiding transparency by creating yet another review group to review the review group’s findings”

The fact that the new Government comes complete with 70 advisors for Ministers and leaders only adds to the problem.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/covid-19-oversight-group-could-add-to-confusion-over-health-advice-1.4355703

There are 32 members of NPHET from the Department of Health, HSE, HIQA, HPSC, ICGP and HPRA, as well as consultants, epidemiologists and the Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group and the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.

NPHET also has 5 subgroups.

To add to this lunacy the government has hired a private corporate flimflam outfit as a ‘public relations’ gimmick.

Within this absurd bureaucratic maze nobody knows who has responsibility for the testing, tracking, and isolating programme, or even if such a necessary policy effectively exists, no one knows the chain of command, or what are the protocols, if any, for tranparency and accountability.
.
Its no wonder that whatever it is that the government is trying to communicate is not getting through to the public.
Whatever the government is trying to do it is doing it very badly.
Chaos reigns.

Too many kooks.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2020

Agreed. Absolutey abysmal and when Conor Lenihan is talking reasonably good sense you know we’re in trouble.

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tafkaGW - September 16, 2020

There are excellent people working in public health and epidemiology in the Republic. However, given decades of Fx political culture, they are mixed and hindered by numbers of boys and some girls who were given jobs and promotion on the basis of political connections.

Thus the proliferation of organisations I suspect.

Germany is somewhat better placed, having a single national authority, the Robert Koch Institute, for disease control. And significantly less political placemanship.

But in Germany the RKI’s recommendations must be carried out on a local level by public servants who are suffering from poor pay, understaffing and all of the consequences of the (often somewhat subtler than RoI) anti-public sector political ideology that has dominated the CDU/CSU and it’s allies even further right. And given in to by the Greens and SPD when they are in coalition with the CDU/CSU.

Liked by 1 person

7. tafkaGW - September 16, 2020

The figures show the RoI on an exponentially rising tested infection curve for Covid19. The hospitalisation and intensive bed occupation will rise to match with a lag of about 10 days.

No way should pubs open. Especially as colleges are about to start.

Are they government still intending to let the lobby power of the drinks industry trump the health of residents in the country?

Also travel from many other places where Covid19 is on an exponential rise needs to be stopped once more.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2020

And yet they talk of allowing flights etc… it’s really incredible.

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8. irishelectionliterature - September 16, 2020

What a day.
They have the nation watching as they unveil a plan for.living with Covid. There are five levels. They don’t communicate the levels at all. Not even a graphic. Then Dublin is put in a new level altogether.
The plan asks for Dublin residents not to travel outside the County. No mention of it at the Press Conference, Donnelly says go where you like on the news at one. Later on we learn that Dublin residents are asked not to leave the County.
A complete cluster fuck before we have Donnelly feeling unwell and the cabinet self isolating.
The plan also has the schools being open at every level….. Has it occurred to them that the schools being open might be a factor in the current spike in numbers?
There was ironic laughter in my house as we learnt that the Cabinet was self isolating (which was the correct thing to do)… Why the laughter? Well my wife has been teaching kids that have been diagnosed with Covid. No tests for her, I gather only the children sitting around the children will be notified. She’s shitless of passing it to her Mam who is recovering from heart surgery.
An idea might be to give the children an extended mid term break of a fortnight. See if that impacts the numbers.
The Teaching unions would want to get their act together to protect their members.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2020

+1

Couldn’t agree more. I’ve also been told by senior school staff that GDPR considerations being a factor in not informing general staff or school about cases should they arise. That seems absurd. It’s like NFB said above, everything is desperation not to close things, however high the potential risk.

I’ve wondered if school reopenings are part of the spike, but the information on cases has been so scant that it’s difficult to assess. It certainly could be a factor. And add to that ordinary colds and so on. I’ve a creature at home with very bad sore throat. No great surprise there given they and their classmates haven’t been around each other or other kids to any great degree in months. But it points up the issue of contagion in those contexts.

I’ve felt teaching unions have been extremely reserved. I think that’s a function of them being monstered in the media at the outset for apparently not being willing to step up – a completely nonsense framing of the issue in the first place. But if unions are getting reports of significant outbreaks and numbers amongst students and staff then they have to push back against the conditions that allow that to occur in.

Liked by 2 people

tafkaGW - September 16, 2020

Sympathy with your partner IEL: that’s a terrible situation to put anyone in.

But that’s exactly what they’re willing to do to workers rather than spend some cash protecting everyone in schools.

A teachers’ strike until they are protected would seem to be in order.

Liked by 2 people

9. CL - September 16, 2020

“Exactly one week before the start of in-person learning for NYC public school students, some teachers are intensifying their opposition to the city’s plan, staging several “work outs” at schools on Monday.
The coordinated effort by MORE-UFT — an activist faction of the United Federation of Teachers union — involved teachers at six schools working outside instead on in their classrooms. The teachers say they decided to do so out of mistrust toward the safety of their schools during the coronavirus pandemic.”
https://gothamist.com/news/nyc-teachers-stage-work-out-saying-schools-are-not-safe-enter

“Coronavirus testing tents will be constructed outside New York City schools. More than 10 percent of students and teachers will get a nose swab once a month….
The goal of random testing is to identify students and teachers who have the coronavirus and do not have symptoms….
About 34 percent of parents have decided to keep their children at home for remote learning, but that leaves more than 600,000 students who could attend school in person.
The city is planning to randomly test about 10 percent to 20 percent of students, teachers and staffers at each school once a month, which could mean processing 60,000 to 120,000 tests every month. Officials hope to return test results in 48 hours and provide individual students with their results, city officials said…
The powerful union that represents teachers, the United Federation of Teachers, said that as part of its agreement with Mr. de Blasio, children who do not have parental consent to testing will be required to learn remotely at home. School staff who choose not to participate will be put on unpaid leave, the union said.”
nytimes.comnyregion/schools-reopen-testing-nyc.html

“The head of the city’s teachers’ union said Thursday that if the Department of Education doesn’t improve it’s COVID-19 testing they are going to prevent schools from opening Sept. 21.
The threat came after United Federation of Teachers Michael Mulgrew revealed that 16 city teachers have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 15,000 recently checked for the virus.”
https://nypost.com/2020/09/10/uft-threatens-to-delay-reopening-amid-lack-of-covid-testing/

Liked by 1 person


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