Irish Examiner View: Reckless behaviour in pandemic invites new and harder rules 

Irish Examiner View: Reckless behaviour in pandemic invites new and harder rules 

The Oliver Bond flats complex, in Dublin’s south inner city, scene of Saturday night's six-hour rave.  Picture: Collins Photos

Though they can sometimes be an effective diplomatic feint, generalisations are usually unwise, especially when being honest and unambiguous is the best course of action. An entire community cannot be condemned for the misdemeanours of an individual or even several individuals. Just as all Americans cannot be written off as mega-loud Trump voters, all Kerry people cannot be written off as frustrated football fans, Nor can all Cork people be described as weary, frustrated hurling fans though very many are. There are indeed subtleties and nuances in every group if only you look hard enough.

Despite that, it is hard enough to imagine extenuating circumstances to soften judgement of the large group who attended a Saturday six-hour rave at the Oliver Bond flat complex near Dublin's Christchurch. Their indifference to public health warnings, and the health of others,  was contemptible. That, however, was not the only weekend event in the capital to cause concern.

The Thursday afternoon, pre-lockdown exodus from Dublin may not have breached the letter of lockdown regulations but it certainly gave two-fingers to the spirit and objective of those difficult, business-destroying measures. It also showed contempt for the great majority of people, inside and outside of Dublin, who have accepted the difficult, limiting impact of the pandemic. 

The mini convoys of Dublin cars and Dubliners that arrived in remote West Cork villages at the weekend cannot have been surprised that the usual red-carpet welcome was not forthcoming. Nor will it be until our world has recovered some of its pre-pandemic equilibrium.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin Martin captured the mood yesterday: “I do feel that in certain areas clearly the message isn't getting through in terms of certain communities where the levels are high and where activities continue where people are congregating in far too greater numbers.” He offered that perspective just as the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control showed five countries in its orbit with more than 120 confirmed cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days; a million people in and around Madrid were under a new lockdown to contain a new C19 surge and America's body count neared 200,000. 

As if those dire examples were not convincing enough, the British government's lead advisers warned England was on course for about 50,000 cases a day a rising death toll within a month unless the public was more responsible about preventive action. Unfortunately, there are many frightening ways to show that the pandemic, if not its impact, is resurgent.  

Closer to home Green Party leader Eamon Ryan was emphatic when he warned that six more counties are on the cusp of level three restrictions as cases continue to rise across the country. Mr Ryan said it is "not just a Dublin issue" as the virus is spreading rapidly in the community in Louth, Waterford, Donegal, Leitrim, Limerick, and Kildare.

It is of little consolation that this accelerating was predicted, it is not at all consoling that despite those warnings a significant minority imagines that it can be business as usual. Yesterdays' reopening of pubs probably saw examples of that too.

Unpleasant as it may be we may be approaching a point where it will no longer be possible to be as indulgent, to be as half-hearted about imposing very difficult pandemic regulations.  And who will be to blame for that unwelcome eventuality?


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