'He needs to lead by example': Mattie McGrath criticises Varadkar's picnic in Phoenix Park

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has criticised the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for not leading by example after being photographed with friends in the Phoenix Park last weekend during the coronavirus pandemic.
'He needs to lead by example': Mattie McGrath criticises Varadkar's picnic in Phoenix Park
Leo Varadkar pictured in Phoenix Park, Dublin last weekend.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has criticised the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for not leading by example after being photographed with friends in the Phoenix Park last weekend during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr McGrath told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show there had been “very little” in the Irish media about the Taoiseach “having a picnic” because they were “more obsessed” with Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson “than dealing with our own failings here in Ireland.”

“We have our Taoiseach out in the Phoenix Park having a picnic - I thought picnics were one of the things that were prescribed you couldn't have.

“Miriam Lord (columnist with The Irish Times) made some reference to cans, that it was a can party or something like, dismissed it as if it was frolics of young teenage boys - but he's not, he's an adult and he has a responsible job and he needs to lead by example.”

Mr McGrath also called on the government to ‘kick start’ the Irish economy immediately, and he criticised the two metre social distancing rule. He said the two metre rule was a farce at this stage and was not being implemented in many hospitals.

“I have evidence of two hospitals - one major hospital in Cork and one in Dublin - this week. In Cork, it requests one metre distancing - two preferably - but one in black and white. Yesterday in Dublin there was no mention of distancing, people all over the place, very close congregated, business as usual.

Mr McGrath asked how the HSE and the chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan could be calling for the two metre rule when it wasn’t being implemented in hospitals. He described the situation in nursing homes as “an out-and-out scandal” and that the introduction of a 14 day quarantine for people arriving in the country was too late and nonsensical.

He called for immediate measures to kick start the economy. “We're going to have to kick-start the economy and kick-start it big time. It's like kick-starting a Honda 50 to kick-start a 750, it’s a big difference. This is going to be very, very, very problematic and the longer we leave this closed down, the harder it's going to get.”

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