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Contradictions, egos and boo-boos in crisis corridors

Fionnán Sheahan


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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris at a Government Covid-19 Press Briefing at Government Buildings. Pic Steve Humphreys

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris at a Government Covid-19 Press Briefing at Government Buildings. Pic Steve Humphreys

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris at a Government Covid-19 Press Briefing at Government Buildings. Pic Steve Humphreys

HE had warned his counterparts what he would say if it came up. A couple of hours later, Dr Tony Holohan was asked the predicted question about the arrival of migrant workers at the fruit company Keelings during the lockdown. The chief medical officer (CMO) expressed his discomfort, saying it was "not consistent" with public health advice. "He said, 'if I am asked about it, I cannot stand over it'. Holohan is playing with a straight bat all the time," a political source said.

The CMO's utterances prompted the Taoiseach to weigh in and announce a review of the rules, even though the use of seasonal migrant workers is in line with Government policy.

The problem is it is understood the company contacted the Government at senior levels to check if they were playing by the rules.