'I GET PEOPLE'S ANGER' Fianna Fáil TD, Dara Calleary. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
The frustration many people feel with Covid-19 restrictions are understandable but people need to stay the course, according to Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary.
His comments come after a leading HSE doctor referred to ongoing restrictions as ‘draconian’ at the weekend.
Dr Martin Feeley, the clinical director of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, who also criticised media coverage of daily cases of Covid-19 as ‘bordering on hysteria’. There was also an anti-facemask march in Dublin on Saturday.
However, Dara Calleary argues the Government’s current approach is in the best interests of society.
“I get people’s anger and frustration,” Deputy Calleary told The Mayo News. “It is six months of restrictions and we’re all tired of it. But it is still with us, the disease is quite virulent. We’re trying to protect people from the disease, we’re trying to protect families from the disease.
“Nobody wants to do this. Nobody wants to keep your local pub closed. Nobody wants to stop people going to see a county final at the weekend. Politicians like to be popular! They don’t want to tell you not to go to the county final but it is seen as the best thing.
“We’ve seen as restrictions loosen cases go up, so you have to come to a level at some stage where there will be restrictions to manage the cases. What we want to do is get schools back to normal, some sort of normality around the economy but also managing that situation and managing the case numbers and every government in the world is struggling to do that,” he said.
Calleary knows the reality of Covid restrictions more than most, having resigned from the cabinet after his attendance at the controversial golf dinner in a hotel in Clifden, a clear breach of Covid guidelines.
The event, which took place on August 19, four weeks tomorrow, saw over 80 guests gather at the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner. After the story broke the following evening, Calleary resigned as Minister for Agriculture on the Friday morning. EU Commissioner Phil Hogan resigned the following week.
Four weeks on, Calleary says he ‘deeply regrets’ his actions.
“You have to get on with it. I’m back focused on the day job, focused on delivering, focused on the work that has to be done for the county and the region. I still deeply regret what happened. It hasn’t gone away but also I have to get on with it. I got to get back on the horse and there’s a lot of fences to jump,” he said.
He said the planned roadmap for the next ‘six to nine months’ that the Government is due to publish today will chart the way forward.
“The plan is designed for lay out a roadmap so we can see to the end of this and that we can get people to the end of this.
“There will be cases in schools. That will happen and we just have to be calm around it and just respect public health advice around it. Every country in the world is beginning to see an uptick. There was a lot of movement during the summer and a lot of travelling around. We just have to go back into our own families and our own communities again and keep on top of it ourselves,” he said.