Letters to the Editor: Nphet true to its remit — take note Paul Hosford

Letters to the Editor: Nphet true to its remit — take note Paul Hosford

The Christmas lights on Oliver Plunkett Street set against the beautiful late afternoon sky over Cork on New Year's Eve, 2020. The government made a disastrous decision to open things up for a feelgood Christmas splurge, according to reader Jim Cosgrove. Picture Denis Minihane.

Paul Hosford’s masterclass in ambivalence (‘Deviating from Nphet’s advice...’ Irish Examiner, Opinion, December 31) mercurially manages to marry salient conjecture and shallow camouflage in a creative alchemy of understatement, contradiction, and ‘par-truths’.

He attempts, at once, to exonerate both Nphet and Government from the inevitable denouement of the disastrous decision to open things up for a feelgood Christmas splurge, despite the obvious well-flagged risk and the majority of citizens against the relaxation of restrictions, as per several surveys.

The Government chose to appease rather than lead with protective civic maturity. A paltry sop to engender a vacuous popularity.

Nphet surely has to be authentically exonerated from the off, since it had explicitly warned of the patent likely outcomes for viral spread. Thus, they were true to their remit, providing near-precise forecasts of the debacle which would ensue.

The Government, on the other hand, must take full responsibility for the decision to relax things, albeit that ultimately the citizens’ collective must shoulder the responsibility for many tragic transgressions of the clear public health advisory templates. Not that Nphet gets everything right all the time, but by any measure they must be the ‘go-to’ sump of core advisories for following.

There are many patterns and perspectives to this kaleidoscope of societal behaviour and governance farrago. But during a ‘once-in-a-century’ global pandemic, surely the people who must hold the sway for advice and decision-making are the official professional teams of medico-scientific professionals who at least have the wherewithal and know-how to interpret and calibrate the ever-changing trajectories of a life-and-death viral ‘volcano’. Yes, the Government has a wider panoramic scope to consider, but when life-and-death issues are at stake, there is only one mature choice to select.

“...a lockdown Christmas was too bleak a prospect to countenance”

Surely the apposite riposte to that assertion is ‘better to be bored than dead’. Trite, but true. To think that we couldn’t all have survived an ultra-quiet Christmas, with severe social limitation, is something of an insult to the resilience of the citizenry. It was always clear that this pandemic was not going to last forever, and while it’s for sure tough going for everyone, we were always going to endure.

“But Micheál Martin also had to weigh up the economic and societal cost ... of essentially cancelling Christmas.”

Let’s get this straight. Christmas was never going to be ‘cancelled’. It was of course going to be different, but it was always going to happen. It was more the need of the Government to appear benignly considerate to the people, rather than the people baying for a ‘free-for-all’ Christmas build-up to raise their dropping spirits. The inevitable has transpired, with drastic consequence.

Of course, Micheál Martin’s most recent address to the nation, attempted to gloss over their folly by insinuating that it was mainly the new variant virus transmissibility ‘wot done it’. Wrong, sir! Please be candid, frank, and truthful in the round, and not try to self-exonerate with a cheap-shot fallacy. While that viral variant may eventually be proven to have had some contributory effect, it was clearly and squarely the social mayhem-mixing which was the main culprit. If we don’t all try to honour and own that basic fact, humbly learning from it we have no chance of moving on to brighter days any time soon. No sane citizen wants to have to keep witnessing the tawdry jostling for controlling kudos and
perceived prominence between the Government and Nphet. Catch a grip, politicos, this is all for real — real dire.

Sadly, the underlying historical competitive impasse between the Department of Health and the HSE has merely hindered fully streamlined cohesion of purpose. Paul Hosford concludes that “the Government is once again under the cover of medical advice for the foreseeable future”. Long may that stay thus.

Political posturing “time for nuance” should be consigned to the refuse tip, until we prosper over the viral threat.

Jim Cosgrove

Chapel St


Comedy an insult to Christian faith

I was abhorred at the utterly offensive and blasphemous Waterford Whispers sketch on RTÉ’s New Year’s Eve countdown show on Thursday night. It was incredibly insulting and hurtful to people of the Christian faith.

Mass at St John’s Church Tralee Co Kerry. Picture:  Domnick Walsh
Mass at St John’s Church Tralee Co Kerry. Picture:  Domnick Walsh

Insulting content such as that has absolutely no place on public television, and indeed has no place anywhere on a public or private forum.

It is a mockery of the Christian faith and for practising Catholics like myself, it is utterly degrading and contrary to our beliefs.

And what’s more, there isn’t an ounce of truth in it. Shame on anyone that insults our God in such a fashion. It is neither funny nor humorous. RTÉ need to remove this clip immediately from their ‘Player’. It is sacrilegious and unfit for any public platform day or night.

God shall not be mocked.

Aisling Bastible


Dublin 3

Black and Tans an integral part of RIC

In Daniel McConnell’s ‘Political year in Review’ (Irish Examiner, December 31) he dealt with the issue of the then minister for justice Charlie Flanagan’s “solo run” on a State commemoration for the RIC.

Mr McConnell claimed, in an otherwise good political summary of 2020, that, “amid some ludicrous suggestions that the event was to commemorate the Black and Tans, nonetheless the Government came under sustained criticism”.

A man  is searched at gunpoint by temporary constables of the British Black and Tans.
A man  is searched at gunpoint by temporary constables of the British Black and Tans.

The implication of this assertion is that the Tans were not part of the RIC. It’s disappointing to note that, as we commemorate that particular phase of the fight for independence, journalists continue to get important facts wrong.

The Tans were of course an integral part of the RIC. The British Chief Secretary for Ireland Hamar Greenwood, set out quite clearly their status as follows: “The so-called Black and Tans are not a separate force, but are recruits to the permanent established Royal Irish Constabulary. The Auxiliary Division is also part of the Royal Irish Constabulary.”

I think given these facts it was quite understandable and not “ludicrous” as Mr McConnell claimed, that there was widespread opposition to such a commemoration of the RIC. This doesn’t take away from the tragedy of the loss of life on all sides during Ireland’s long struggle for independence.

As we commemorate events of the past it is important that we are factual, even if the facts are inconvenient. Therefore I would be very grateful if you can publish this letter.

Brian Stanley

Sinn Féin TD for Laois/Offaly

Deputy has right to voice reservations

John O’Sullivan (Letters, January 1 ‘Collins fails to offer vaccine leadership’), while exercising his democratic right to comment on Deputy Michael Collins, does not seem to accept his right to freedom of expression.

If Deputy Collins has reservations concerning vaccines — he has a right and, as an elected representative, a responsibility to share those reservations.

Vaccines have been “rushed” into production without the “normal” timeframe for trials and testing, according to one reader.
Vaccines have been “rushed” into production without the “normal” timeframe for trials and testing, according to one reader.

In this regard I would “commend” Deputy Collins — who has demonstrated honesty and integrity rather than “blindly” follow party leadership.

The fact is these vaccines have been “rushed” into production without the “normal” timeframe for trials and testing. Any “side effects” are yet to be experienced. People have the right to make their own evaluation in relation to these vaccines.

Michael A Moriarty



It’s time to stop masking ignorance

Today I walked alone for an hour in a beautiful part of Cork.

It felt good to get out for some exercise. I walked along a pathway which was about nine feet wide.

Many others were there also, including runners, cyclists and a few on roller blades.

I estimated that I met almost 300 people between my outward and inward journey. I wore a mask. I counted only nine others wearing masks — three cyclists, two couples, and two others.

Surely at this stage people must be aware that this virus is airborne, with invisible droplets littering the air around these walkers, most of whom were talking, laughing, talking to kids, biking, and running. All exhaling into the atmosphere on the calm afternoon.

I then heard on RTÉ’s Six-One News that the numbers affected by this sinister virus, and its new variant, have sky- rocketed, almost out of control in Ireland. We are NOT learning, we are not listening, and we will pay the price in spades.

Ray Cawley



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