Irish Examiner View: Island best with a single strategy

So coronavirus has done what generations of ardent feminists failed to achieve.
Irish Examiner View: Island best with a single strategy

So coronavirus has done what generations of ardent feminists failed to achieve. The Rose of Tralee Festival has been, for the first time in its 61-year history, postponed. It was hoped to stage an autumn festival but it proved impossible to stage selection events around the world because of social distancing.

As pandemic setbacks go, this may be one of the more surmountable ones but it is nevertheless an indication of how blind the epidemic is. It is callously indifferent to its consequences, who it might infect or what tradition, grand or trivial, it might disrupt. Or even where it might strike. It is indifferent to borders, especially borders between jurisdictions where different preventative strategies are in place.

That issue was addressed by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, which said yesterday that there needs to be an all-island approach when policing Covid-19. “There are two jurisdictions on this island, but there is one virus. And this virus knows no boundaries — there is a need for a kind of an all-island approach,” said the association. The comments came after a legal loophole — that means people from the North travelling to the Republic on day trips cannot be arrested — was clarified.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald focused on the same issue but with a different objective in mind. The party leader, who has recovered from her own brush with coronavirus, was highly critical of the British government’s approach and described the lack of a single health policy across the island of Ireland as “astonishing”.

Unsurprisingly, Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken accused her of “attempting to advance” her party’s political objectives by highlighting differing attitudes to the pandemic on either side of the border. Logic decrees that it is possible to level the same charge against Mr Aiken, if he defends a situation that undermines the capacity of everyone on this island, no matter what drum they march to, to be in the best possible position to fend off coronavirus.

Coronavirus may mean that we have no 2020 Rose of Tralee but it has done something even more unimaginable — it means Sinn Féin and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors are, more or less, singing off the same hymn sheet. Who’d a thought?

More in this section

Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up