I think Leo Varadkar still thinks he is Taoiseach. First of all, in a decidedly odd move, he demands that he should have an aide-de-camp. This is a privilege and an honour only normally enjoyed by the President and the Taoiseach. It sends out all the wrong signals. Being leader of Fine Gael has never been about self-aggrandisement. I can’t imagine Liam Cosgrave, Garret FitzGerald or Enda Kenny doing such a thing. Then we have, for a Tanaiste, his frankly inappropriate behaviour by criticising the government’s stance on international travel prior to a crucial cabinet meeting to decide on the issue. Somebody should remind the good doctor that this is a coalition government which has got off to a somewhat unsteady start and the last thing we need is the Leader of Fine Gael throwing shapes. Leo gave the State some service as Caretaker Taoiseach. It would be a shame if he let the resulting good-will slip away.
Now on the issue of travel, I have to say I find it pretty clear, but mind you, in my condition I can’t go anywhere until there is a vaccine. Only travel if it is essential, and if you really feel the need to have a holiday abroad you could go to Monaco which is on the Green List. You can only get there via France, which is not on the Green List and Nice which is the nearest airport is a hot spot for Covid 19. Then Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Sinn Fein has described the government’s approach as “cack-handed”. However, in the North, Sinn Fein agreed to travel to 59 countries and I understand that some Northerners are travelling abroad via Dublin Airport. Bottom line, this boils down to personal responsibility and common sense.
The dreaded virus is still very much on my mind and anybody who saw the programme “RTE Investigates: Further Health Care” could not fail to understand the challenges ahead for a fine institution like St. James’s Hospital. I know several of the Medics that appeared in the programme and have the greatest admiration for their dedication to their jobs. However, we should not kid ourselves. People working on the front line dealing in particular with Covid-19 have been under enormous pressure in the past few months and I’m sure there are many who are suffering from burn-out. Imagine the dread they have of a 2nd wave of the virus combined with an outbreak of flu this winter. Without being alarmist, they could be over-whelmed. Avoiding this is, of course, up to us all and despite recent unnerving events, it seems the widespread wearing of masks is having a positive effect by keeping the all-important R number down. The widespread wearing of masks was first recommended on April 3rd in the U.S. If that delinquent, Donald Trump, had shown an example then, he would have saved thousands of lives. They are without question an essential component in fighting the virus.
Finally, delighted to see Eamon Ryan returning as Leader of the Greens. Like the Taoiseach, he is a decent man.