Posted on 27th March 2021

Slane Castle

I thought that having the Greens participating in government was a good thing.  More to the point I thought they would display maturity when dealing with the mechanics of coalition government.  Along comes the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu, who has got a nomination to run for the Seanad in a by-election.  Now we get to the irresponsible and disruptive part.  She is running as an Independent, despite there being an agreement that the Greens would support Fine Gael & Fianna Fail candidates.  To top it all, she is Chairman of the Green Party and says she didn’t know about the pact, which sounds a bit weird.  She then holds her campaign launch in Stephen’s Green in contravention of  OPW rules.  This is all very messy and the Green Parliamentary Party need to sort it out.  Many people were concerned that the Greens were not capable of being reliable partners in government.  Hazel Chu’s behaviour does nothing to inspire confidence and maybe they should consider kicking her out.

Now to the jab, because in truth that is the only way we are going to save the nation and get our collective sanity back.  I was delighted that the Taoiseach opposed Ursula von der Leyen’s vaccine blockade on the basis that it is essential to keep the supply chains open.  So, for example, I was intrigued to learn that a component in the Pfizer vaccine came from Yorkshire.  The truth of the matter is von der Leyen is embarrassed that the UK has vaccinated half its population whilst Europe has only achieved 12%.  The Commission’s paranoia has led to some keystone cop behaviour.  They made an elite unit of the Italian Police raid the Catalent plant in Anagni and seize 29 million AstraZeneca jabs they thought were destined for the UK.  The European Press were then briefed accordingly.  Then on Wednesday it was admitted it wasn’t true.  AstraZeneca said 16 million doses were “ waiting for quality control release to be despatched to Europe”.  The remaining 13 million doses were part of the Covax sharing scheme for developing countries.  Bruno Macaes, Portugal’s former Europe Minister said it might have been “ The most embarrassing day in EU history”.  It is in my view incredibly short sighted to try and introduce a ban.  The Commission misjudged their negotiations with AstraZeneca.  They were way behind the UK in doing a deal with the company.  I just hope cool heads prevail in de-escalating a potentially dangerous trade war.

Well, here we have a long way to go.  In Tel Aviv some Bars are offering a shot for a shot.  Can you imagine a pub in Slane offering a shot of Slane Whiskey with a jab of AstraZeneca.  The HSE  wouldn’t approve.  In all seriousness, there is only one way out of this and that is mass vaccination.  I genuinely believe that soon the jabs will start flowing.  However, the HSE need to get their messaging right.  Word has reached me that despite efficiency at the Vaccine Centres, there is considerable anxiety about the AstraZeneca vaccine.  This must be dealt with swiftly .  One friend of mine said “ There is light at the end of the tunnel, but you can only see it with binoculars”.

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