Posted on 27th November 2021

I find it frankly beyond belief that considering the seriousness of the current Covid surge the subject wasn’t even discussed at this week’s Cabinet meeting. Is it any wonder that people become so disillusioned with Government. What it does illustrate is a lack of a sense of urgency at the heart of this administration. This lies at the Taoiseach’s door. As a former Minister for Health he should know better. Now with the emergence of a new and potentially dangerous variant, we need real leadership which understands the critical importance of an urgent response.

Slane Castle

So I find myself repeating the same message. One of the most effective weapons against this virus are booster jabs and bluntly they have not been rolled out fast enough. The data from Israel pointed the way and if there had been a real sense of urgency here we might not be in the midst of a crisis. Instead we have exhausted health care staff wrestling with rising numbers of Covid patients. It must be difficult at times to have to cope with those that are unvaccinated who by their own choice have placed themselves in peril. To counterbalance this there is potentially some good news from the UK. It has been puzzling me for a while why for example Germany compared to the UK has been faring badly in relation to hospitalisations and deaths. The answer may lie with AstraZeneca which offers long-term T cell immunity when antibodies wane. Well I know a hell of a lot of people who got the AstraZeneca jab, including my wife, so I say Hurrah. To be honest, I thought the aspersions cast against AstraZeneca by the French and the Germans to be politically motivated. President Macron and Chancellor Merkel might have saved a lot of lives if they had tempered their anti-British bias. Whilst I’m at it, I think it bears keeping in mind that AstraZeneca was by far the most altruistic of the drug companies and I have to say this news brought a smile to my face.

It seems clear that the public are heeding the warnings of the likes of Paul Reid and the CMO Tony Holohan. There are multiple cancellations of Christmas parties which are going to cost a seriously hammered hospitality industry dearly. The Irish Hotels Federation are saying that their sector could be down by €90 million. This Covid mess has serious financial consequences as well as its human toll.

Utterly appalling is the only way to describe the tragedy in the English Channel. The migration of people fleeing conflict or worse is going to be the story of the 21st century. This may develop on a massive scale if climate change gets a grip. How many of the displaced in Afghanistan will head for Europe ? In this case the French and the British working together must find a solution.

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