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If Covid could talk, I bet it could wheedle its way out of the Government’s quarantine plans

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin with his Cabinet of ministers. Photo: Julien Behal

Taoiseach Micheál Martin with his Cabinet of ministers. Photo: Julien Behal

Taoiseach Micheál Martin with his Cabinet of ministers. Photo: Julien Behal

GOVERNMENT continues to stick with a very limited mandatory quarantine on the basis that ‘we should take one step at a time’. The problem here, of course, is that Covid doesn’t seem to understand the concept of ‘one step at a time’.

In fact it seems to have a very cavalier attitude to the concept, preferring instead to transmit and transmute as fast as it can. Confronted by frustrated ministers, Covid grins like a cheeky schoolboy, gives the two fingers and says: “Listen guys, getting through loopholes is what I do. Gosh, nobody told you.”

Of course, any effective quarantine must apply to all non-essential arrivals at our ports and airports.

Ah, but a group of ministers will argue: “Sure the number of tourists into airports is small, tiny, infinitesimal even.”

“Ha ha,” grins cheeky Covid, “all I need is one Covid denier and I might manage to slip in a really nasty variant. You know, some guy who learned in the camps to evade the vaccine patrol.”

“Very unlikely,” chorus a suite of ministers, ‘we’ve covered that. Haven’t we mounted a watch on them red-zone fellas?”

Covid, now speechless with laughter, replies: “Sure, they don’t have to come in from a red zone. Did nobody tell you that either?”

“Ah, what are you on about?” counters an assistant to a deputy minister. “Can’t all the variants in the world come down here from Belfast, anyway? So, what’s the point in a quarantine, at all, at all?”

“Ah, now,” says the minister. “We have to do something, however ineffective. That’s what we’re good at, doing something ineffective until it’s proven beyond a shadow of doubt that it is ineffective. Then, we can apologise and talk about being wise after the event.”

More seriously, the Government will be ignoring the efforts and indeed the suffering of many if it persists with its present quarantine plans. So, yes, extend quarantine to all non-essential arrivals. Yes, make quarantine mandatory. Yes, have quarantine in quarantine centres and yes, police the quarantine in the centres.

Bill O’Sullivan

Rochestown Rd, Co Cork.

Brinkmanship by teacher union cannot be tolerated

YESTERDAY at 5pm, Australia’s entire State of Victoria was placed in a four-day emergency lockdown due to an outbreak in a quarantine hotel, and at a terminal in Melbourne International Airport. This included all weddings planned for the next week being cancelled. The majority of people understand the health of themselves, their families and friends, is what matters.

Today I read in the Irish Independent of the talks between teachers’ unions and the Education Minister Norma Foley (no relation). At one stage, the Union walked away. What can one say?

Dublin Eye

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The virus has now been with the world for one year, it has not abated, rather it has increased in strength, to the point it is a danger to people of all ages in every nation on earth.

Surely this should encourage everybody to unite in fighting this pandemic, for the long-term good of the nation. School exams,as with many things in life, can be deferred.

Life is invaluable, and as such we have a responsibility, to ourselves, our families, neighbours etc.

This is a time for unity and long-term thinking, not short-term brinkmanship.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Foley’s measures remind me of a football fiasco

AS A parent and teacher of Leaving Cert and Junior Cert students, I am amazed to see how subject to political interference the whole examination process has become during the pandemic as the politically manipulated and calculated grades process, or fiasco, of 2020, depending on your view, ramps up again for another go at pleasing as many as possible, like a political party manifesto.

Minister Foley mentions in her last statement “a corresponding measure” in addition to the Leaving Cert as we know it. This has all the appearances of a (John Delaney) FAI-inspired manager appointment process where you end up with two instead of one trusted and tested. Mind your house minister.

Our education system is rated more highly internationally than our soccer team where the results, unlike the calculated grades, have not improved.

Brendan Greene

Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim

Patience wearing thin on delay in teachers’ return

I CAN no longer sit and wait in the hopes that our teachers will find their ‘moral conscience’ and return to work.

If not for the fact that they are being fully paid to stay at home, I would imagine they would be feeling the pinch of the pandemic payment like the rest of us and go back to the classroom.

Our teachers, on the most part, earn more than our nurses. Most of the nurses on the frontline have had little or no holiday for a year in direct contrast with our teachers who took all their paid holidays, in addition to all their paid lockdown days and are still refusing to work. Shop assistants and retail workers are not given the choice and they are in a less controlled environment, yet they turn up for work day after day.

The unions are not serving the teachers well as most of the country’s parents are sick and disgusted by their lack of judgement.

And we know from the statistics that there were little or no outbreaks in schools from September-November 2020 until everyone started socialising in December, and the virus took off again.

A Kellett

Dublin 5

Think in twos when pubs reopen - life’s too short

BACK when there were establishments called pubs, a man went into such a hostelry and ordered two half ones.

When asked why, he said: “Life is two shorts.”

John Williams

Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Life cannot go on with the stress of being cooped up

I’M A 68-year-old woman, widowed, with no political affiliations. I want to tell the Government that this third lockdown has been so tough for me. Cooped up in my house, unable to meet family or friends.

My entire body, my jaws and fists clenched with stress to a point that sleep is almost impossible. I feel my mental health is deteriorating slowly but surely. Family is the most important thing to a mother and I haven’t seen my daughter and her family for 18 months in the USA. It breaks both our hearts.

If life continues in lockdown, I’m not sure I want to live like this.

A heart scan I was due to have is cancelled indefinitely, I now have to wait again. Will it be too long for me?

Why is it that all medical and a lot of surgical procedures are put on hold? The waiting list is endless, people are giving up hope. Covid is not the only illness in this country, does this not matter at all?

Nphet and the Government have a lot to answer for. I hold them totally responsible for how I feel. I have gone from being a very positive person who volunteers to having to check what day of the week it is.

Life cannot go on like this indefinitely.

Name and address with editor

Extended lockdown is due to delayed vaccine plan

I’M GETTING the distinct impression that panic stations are now firmly in place in Dáil Éireann.

We are due a statement on lockdown measures going forward on February 22. Now we are being told that regardless of that date, full lockdown will be in place until after Easter.

Why are they telling us this on February 11? It wouldn’t by any chance have something to do with the pathetic roll-out of the vaccines or indeed the equally pathetic party political tennis being badly played by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste? Varadkar says one thing and Martin says another.

Truth is that nothing has been done to prepare for vaccination despite months and months of notice. We are now scrambling to train people who should have been trained months ago to administer the vaccine. Only now are we setting up facilities to vaccinate.

The Government are now buying time by further extending lockdown, which in turn is destroying businesses and livelihoods, just so they can play catch-up on vaccination.

Eamon Kearney

Dublin 13

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