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The helplessness surrounding Covid

De Facto

FEELING POWERLESS Bungled regulations and rollout blunders are sending our anxiety levels through the roof.


De Facto
Liamy MacNally

The thing about lockdown is the feeling of helplessness. You think at some level you are in control but you realise that you are not. Someone is always there before you. Your place has been taken. It is this notion of being somewhat displaced that is unsettling.
Turn on the radio or television and it is a constant stream of negatives – telling us what we cannot do. There is no warmth or comfort just cold, calculating comments reinforcing the feeling of helplessness and displacement that is evident and unsettling.
Entities like the HSE, Nphet (National Public Health Emergency Team) and Niac (National Immunisation Advisory Committee) vie for airtime and our attention with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadker, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and whichever Government minister is on press duty for the day.
It is a complete mess and an assault on our everyday lives. We even note ministers fighting between themselves.
Stephen Donnelly is up in arms against Simon Coveney over quarantine for Europeans. Minister Donnelly wants to quarantine all countries with high Covid figures. The Foreign Minister informed him that under EU law people have freedom to travel, regardless of a pandemic. Some airline passengers declare they’re here ‘on holidays’ – Costa Del Covid!
The ‘one size fits all’ is the only constant in the EU rollout. Pandemic or not, it’s ‘EU way or no way’. The vaccination rollout is still a complete disaster. Ursula von der Leyen (EC President and former German Defence Minister) deemed the rollout an EU-wide photo op. What was she thinking?
She messed up with the Northern Ireland Protocol and now wants to threaten a vaccine export ban. How do these type of people get into positions of power? Insisting on a ‘war mentality’ is no way to go. The EU ‘traffic-light travel system’ adopted last November by 27 member states, is now only used by seven states, Ireland being one.
And the vaccination rollout priorities have been changed here. More consternation. No proper explanations as to why, amidst claims that the Government has no database of people who should be ‘next in line’.
If the pandemic were foot and mouth we all know that Ireland would be treated as an island to keep it out. Instead, everyone is forced to guard their own interests. The Northern Ireland duo protect their own clutch, our blessed political threesome create their own messy shambles. You wonder what we did to deserve five ‘leaders’ on the island at the same time! God is only a Trinity.
The reality is that more than one year into this pandemic we are no further along the road to ‘normality’. The great vaccination panacea is actually a contradiction in terms. Those who have been vaccinated still have to carry on as if they were not vaccinated. Neither Government nor pharmaceutical companies will accept any responsibility for side effects, while long-term health effects are still unknown. All of this just adds to the unsettling sense of helplessness and displacement.  
Belgium has been ordered to lift ‘all coronavirus measures’ by a court, as the legal basis was deemed insufficient. A Scottish court has ruled that people have a right to public worship. A similar case, taken by Declan Ganley, is currently before the Irish courts. Health Minister Donnelly stated in the Dáil last year that no prosecutions could take place for violations of the public worship regulation, yet a Cavan priest was fined €500 for saying a public Mass.
Nphet has just advised that cases could reach 2,000 daily within four weeks of lifting restrictions. TCD Law Professors Oran Doyle and David Kenny argue that the State has blurred the lines between Covid legal restrictions and advice. The Council of Europe opposes mandatory vaccination and related travel passports.
Confusion and mixed messages are everywhere.
The shenanigans of the Beacon Hospital and others prove that the concept of entitlement is alive and well in this country. Fianna Fáil has joined Fine Gael with their own children’s shoes debacle. It could only happen in the circus that is Irish politics.
It is past time for honesty and integrity. Is it any wonder we are overwhelmed with helplessness?