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Drunken scenes risk undoing all the good work so far

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A sign reminding visitors of the new restrictions in place is pictured at a bar on the first day of re-opening in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images

A sign reminding visitors of the new restrictions in place is pictured at a bar on the first day of re-opening in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images

A sign reminding visitors of the new restrictions in place is pictured at a bar on the first day of re-opening in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images

Though epidemic projections and modelling may occasionally be tricky for non-epidemiologists to follow, it should be emphasised that despite the very encouraging graphs indicating ongoing declines in death rates, future trends will only be achieved if the public health status quo is maintained.

That is unlikely to happen, although changes in other variables may still make an August 1 ‘no new deaths’ date attainable – possibly even before.

In any eventuality, however, these best-case scenarios are merely projections of current data – curves will change if rules are changed.

Policy changes should not be conflated with public health realities. The equation is therefore a simple one: if decorum can be maintained for a further eight weeks, the outlook is good.

Yet this only gets Ireland to a certain point, comparable to contemporary New Zealand perhaps.

Yet at least this puts the country – with the possible exception of the Border counties – more in control of its destiny. Policies on international travel, ingress and egress, and a focus on recurrence prevention and preparation rules and approaches then become Ireland’s significant priorities.

The reason messages about the pivotal nature of the next eight weeks are important to consider is not just countering economic doomsayers – those pushing for a fast return to the status quo (just look at World War II: economies recovered) – but in terms of maintaining social order.

In that regard, on a local and personal note, from a public health standpoint Killiney Beach on Wednesday made for a dystopian scene with unpoliced drunken brawls, large groups and zero distancing, something that threatens to undo so much of the good work and hard sacrifices thus far.

What was particularity unfortunate was an apparent lack of individual conscientiousness, particularly when you consider all the sacrifices made by businesses, schools and older people to get us to this point. Were all of those efforts made so gangs could get drunk in the sun?

While it is easily possible to empathise and identify with exuberance, there is no way that such espieglerie can be a good thing in these circumstances. Of course we all need an outlet after such an unprecedented confinement – but the curve may not keep its shape if this continues.

Dr Sebastian Kevany

Killiney, Co Dublin

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The country needs stable government immediately

As a 12-year-old in class seven in St John’s Marist School in Co Sligo, our teacher, Brother Hilary, encouraged reading.

One day he told the class: “Every newspaper has a daily editorial. It informs readers of the state of the nation and other important matters. I encourage you to read it daily.”

That was 58 years ago, and, whatever newspaper I read, I will always read the editorial.

Yesterday, the Irish Independent editorial fulfilled its duty to the people of Ireland: “If we’re all in it together, politicians are not exempt.”

It is long past time of the inane ideology of Irish TDs and senators that “my constituency takes precedence, above the needs of the nation at large”.

That you have had 100 days to come to your senses is incredible to say the least.

This virus is, to all intents and purposes, practically unknown. Therefore, it is the duty of each and every one of us to protect ourselves, our families and our neighbours from it.

Hence the need for a stable government immediately.

Or are the current crop of Irish politicians more akin to Ernest Benn’s (1875-1954) adage that “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy”?

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

 

Green Party must show policies across the board

As if we don’t have enough to concern us – Covid-19, Brexit, a huge and growing debt mountain and the lack of new government – enter stage right, direct from central casting, four Green Party spear-carriers (with shafts from sustainable forests and sharp bits from recycled bread knives).

Is it any wonder the Green Party in Ireland is seen as little more than light entertainment?

Can anyone tell me what their policy is on any other topic?

They should develop sensible positions on important topics such as finance, health, education and so on, or go back to their beloved forests.

Until they do this they will never be taken seriously.

David Ryan

Co Meath


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