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Time For New Broom In Covid War

by Jimmy Rhatigan

AT A time of war, a country under siege depends heavily on its army generals.

On that score, we are in a dangerous place as Mother Ireland’s decision makers, those tasked with organizing defence and attack have most certainly been planning without a plan.

It was pitiful to listen to Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s yawning speech on national television this evening.

On a day when there are 4,404 new cases of Covid; 614 being treated in hospitals and 114 in critical ICU care, his bland wording and mealy-mouthed attempts to rally our troops, ie our people, was abysmal.

The notion has to be that he enjoys walking the red carpet, seeing himself as the Big Chief speaking to our nation; particularly so this evening as his great rival, Leo Varadkar was on the other side of the world wooing support for a car boot sale.

Smugly, and without conviction, he dropped bombs and blanks all over the place as he announced further restrictions in a bid to curb a surge of what is admittedly a killer disease.

Had he been talking about Cork and Kilkenny in an All-Ireland Hurling Final, we have no doubt that he would have shown more vim and vigor, a real fighting spirit.


His message saw him drop a bombshell for the entertainment, food and drinks sectors – three groups that have been continuously hammered – with the addition of curtailment for theatres and cinemas.

Hospitality houses, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs must now shutdown at midnight and Covid passes will, as usual, be required for entry.

Widespread antigen testing is being introduced and if a family member contacts Covid, there will be compulsory isolation for five days.

There are other bits and pieces which, no doubt, readers will take cognizance of.

What Mr Martin did was akin to rejigging old stories as Ireland battles its fourth wave of Covid.

In other words, our generals could come up with nothing better than the same old, same old.

If a schoolboys’ hurling team got a Micheál Martin team talk before a country final, it would be as weak as breaking wind without a good feed of cabbage and onions, followed by a few pints of Uncle Arthur.

We don’t mean to trivialize but what is happening is absolutely frightening.

On your belly in the trenches with Martin, Varadkar, Ryan, Tony Holohan and his troops, would you be confident that your next mission would not be in God’s Garden?

People are now being encouraged to take a booster injection, with Varadkar in an interview, admitting that the original jab or jabs may be losing immunity.


Whether or not those already vaccinated decide to take on another jab or not to inject again, is entirely the business of every person in local communities.

We had already been told that it was vital to be injected in the first place, and hopefully that was good advice. There are those who decided against any vaccine, their prerogative. 

The irony is that when the hospitality industry was opened up again only a handful of months ago, unvaccinated people were taboo while the vaccinated were given the nod to eat, drink and be merry.

Now we find that the vaccinated are being punished with earlier closing of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.

Surely to God we are not in a situation where the early jabs are so ineffective at this stage that we cannot trust the early vaccine to protect people from the silent killer.

The close earlier action might, in war time, be described as a fire brigade action to protect a town or village while waiting and hoping for other troops to arrive.

We accept that it is easy to be hurlers on the ditch, throwing stones from a distance.

But we now feel that the time has come for people in power to stand up and be counted.


It is obvious that politicians, along with a mix of medical people, civil servants and maybe some so-called celebs (we don’t know the lineout of the full NPHET team) are going round in circles, albeit well-meaning no doubt..

Open up, close down, one jab, two jabs, now three jabs and counting.

Hospitals, notably ICU departments, are under severe pressure because they were sadly neglected over the years by governments that included a mix of FF, FG, Green, Labour and whatever parties, along with independents.

Sending front doctors, nurses, paramedics et alia messages of goodwill, praising their courage, amounts to a futile exercise and, in fairness, smacks of woeful hypocrisy.

To be fair to our people, the great majority have kept the rules and obeyed the restrictions.

But as the elastic in their underwear must be fraying and with hundreds of thousands of our people once again gripped by fear, drastic decisions have to be taken.

And by the latter, we do not mean cutting dancing hours or halting the game of hopscotch.

If a manager in any sport is unable to get results for a parish, county or country team, then he or she gets the bullet, is thanked for his or her services and a new broom steps in.

At the heart of an emergency, it is vital that someone, anyone of vision must stand up and be counted, organize the best scientific and medical brains in our country and give us a vibrant management team that we can have real faith in.

In any walk of life, it is never a sin to admit that you are not up to the job.

Of course we realize that the war against Covid is a matter of life and death and we know too that it deserves to be treated as such.

It is never easy to serve two masters.

In that respect our decision makers have the unenviable task of juggling with finance and health and coming up with the right formula, the prescription that will work, if you like.

Instead of sidelining or silencing people, as has been done with medicos who may have what we might, with respect, call revolutionary ideas, we should pool all our top brains.

That just could be the route so that we don’t end up in a world of now you see us, now you don’t.

God forbid, we could find ourselves in a crazy situation where we could open the pubs, restaurants and clubs at 6pm and close them at 7pm.


Of course we are.

But the way we are going, everything and anything is on the menu, provided the restaurant is open.

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