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Approach to Covid-19 “has failed, is failing and will fail”

DESPITE high levels of self-congratulation, the Irish State’s response to Covid-19 has been a failure.

That’s the view of Clare TD Michael McNamara, who chaired the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee.

He says that other countries never imposed such severe restrictions, but have still achieved noticeably better results. “They’re saying ‘oh, we’re doing a great job’, but we haven’t, we’ve been failing miserably. There are many countries in Europe that adopted less onerous restrictions on their hospitality sector, on bars, on travel, on stopping people holidaying, they had none of that nonsense and they have a much lower detection rate than we have.

“It’s not like we’ve made the sacrifice and it has been a success and we need to continue on the road we’re on because it’s worked. It hasn’t worked, it’s failed. It has failed, it is failing and it will fail. The only thing its succeeding in doing is destroying our economy and destroying the morale of our society, and probably its mental health.”

He said that what Ireland should have already done is to open up its economy fully, albeit with restrictions on large crowds, while making the public fully aware of what risks exist.

The Scariff man said that there has been too little research and discussion around measures to prevent the spread of the virus. “There is incredible group think. HIQA, which is not a maverick organisation, said that the evidence on the benefits of wearing masks was weak and there was a necessity to carry out further research. Yet, if you even point that out you’re suddenly labelled as a fascist or a conspiracy theorist, for pointing out a scientific fact.

“I’m not promoting people not wearing masks, the law is to wear masks, but can we not carry out some research?”

In a document published last month, HIQA did state, “There is an urgent need for more research, particularly high quality studies that provide direct evidence on the use of face masks by healthy people in the community.” It also found that the quality of evidence from studies to date is low.

Deputy McNamara said that he is not advocating that people stop wearing masks, but he does feel the research required must be carried out. “I’m not an anti-masker or a conspiracy theorist or any of those things, I’m merely pointing out that HIQA said that the evidence to support the efficacy of wearing masks is weak.

“There is some evidence, but that evidence is weak. HIQA have recommended that further research be carried out, no further research was carried out. Every student in secondary school is required to wear a mask. We’re trying to encourage them to study science and arrive at scientific conclusions, there’s a bit of a contradiction there,” he said.

About Owen Ryan

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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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