‘A Growing Sense Of Public Unease’

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Senator and senior counsel Michael McDowell

This afternoon.

Ahead of the Dáil meeting at 2pm today during which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Health Minister Simon Harris and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are scheduled to answer questions…

The Irish Times reports:

Independent Senator Michael McDowell has called for the Dáil to establish a Covid-19 Oireachtas committee to monitor the State’s response to the coronavirus crisis amid what he claimed was growing public unease.

…Mr McDowell said there was a growing sense of public unease with the quality and clarity of official pronouncements, despite the best efforts of the media.

The problem is that extremely opaque and general language has been used to deal with issues such as what is actually happening to residents of nursing homes and other residential facilities,” he said.

…The former tánaiste and attorney general said there had to be more clarity and accountability. “That requires the ability to question and be answered in public.”

Earlier: The Reporting of Deaths

Coronavirus: McDowell claims ‘growing public unease’ with official responses (The Irish Times)

Previously: A Refusal To Hold Themselves Accountable [Updated]

Rollingnews

10 thoughts on “‘A Growing Sense Of Public Unease’

  1. ger

    Even the medical experts have become politicians, Doctor on radio this morning sidestepping questions on nursing homes, Holohan doing likewise

  2. Hansel

    At this stage I’m fully clothed in tinfoil.

    What next, Broadsheet? I’m ready!

    To clarify, I actually agree with Michael “Hitler” McDowell here. Not sure what that says about me.

    1. Andrew

      So you agree with Michael McDowell, yet you infer in your other comments; that anyone doubting the narrative that has played out so far on this crisis, is a fully signed up conspiracy theorist?
      Is it just because you have a deference when someone ‘important’ voices those same concerns?

      1. Hansel

        Andrew, I didn’t make any inferences at all.
        I didn’t infer that “anyone doubting the narrative that has played out so far on this crisis, is a fully signed up conspiracy theorist”.

        I didn’t insinuate that I think the people who are constantly seeking conspiracies all around them are ridiculous. Instead I very explicitly think that people who are constantly seeking conspiracies all around them are ridiculous.

        Some on here claiming that the numbers are all a conspiracy and a Government propaganda exercise, because we aren’t being given access to the data. That’s a stupid conclusion to reach when numerous other conclusions are still available and our state bodies are incredibly leaky. Agitate for information, of course. Please do. When we get data then by all means highlight any incorrect inference from that data and ask for explanations. You might even save lives by doing so. But don’t be surprised when human errors are the source of problems, rather than deviousness or some kind of grand conspiracy.

        Other people are on here claiming that Coronavirus is a hoax to further the “flawed medical science vaccine agenda”. One of my extended family members who was middle aged with no underlying health issues has died from the “hoax”. My friends have caught the “hoax” and my family are on the frontline in hospitals fighting to save the lives of previously-healthy people suffering from that “hoax”.

        People are on here complaining that the government “are sugar coating it” or “spinning”.
        We’re all confined to home. The economy is basically stalled. Many people are scared for their lives. People on the frontline haven’t seen any members of their families for weeks, having moved out of home to protect their loved ones. People can’t go to their loved ones’ funerals. People are treating their co-workers in some wards. It is a catastrophe. Good luck to anyone trying to “sugar coat” all of that! What would the “spin” be? That we’re doing a great job? There’s thousands of people sick and hundreds dying. We can’t get enough PPE, so we’re getting a hodge-podge of crappy gear and local people are trying to fabricate more. We can’t get reagent, so we’re trying to fabricate it ourselves. We don’t yet know how we’ll start getting out of quarantine and we certainly don’t know when. There will likely be future waves of this in a few months time. Spin won’t quite cut it, against all that!

        People on here are saying that a cure exists but that “THEY” won’t give it to us.

        I’ve been saying for weeks that we need to urgently test the frontline workers. The fact that we couldn’t test them has put my loved ones in grave danger.

        So, to very specifically answer your question; no I don’t have a deference when someone “important” voices concerns. I have a deference when someone makes a coherent point. A stopped clock can be right twice a day and McDowell isn’t wrong when he says “extremely opaque and general language has been used to deal with issues such as what is actually happening to residents of nursing homes and other residential facilities”.

        And again, I’ll also say that the level of conspiracy theory libertarian jibberish on here is ridiculous.
        As though some kind of coalition dictatorship is trying to gain control.
        Nobody has control! The whole situation is totally and utterly out of control.

        By all means feel free to ignore my post based on the fact that it’s too long or just because I disagree with you.

        But I want to be very clear in saying that I think anyone who believes the government has some kind of tight control over information or some kind of tight control over resources is very sadly deluded at how powerless our government really are right now.

        If you believe they’re “in control” then you must have bought some incredible “spin”! lol
        They’re only street-fighting.

  3. Andrew

    I think you’re a bit of a hypocrite and a snob.
    “People on here are saying that a cure exists but that “THEY” won’t give it to us.” Really? I haven’t seen any but if you say so, and if they have then that is indeed tin foil hat stuff as are those who deny it exists at all. I have no quarrel with that.
    However, there are people asking legitimate questions that don’t deserve to be labelled as cranks either.Which is what you want to do, unless it’s a senior counsel then that’s different.

    “extremely opaque and general language has been used to deal with issues such as what is actually happening to residents of nursing homes and other residential facilities”.

    Opaque language IS spin, and while they don’t have complete control of the message, they have been given an easy ride so far. Maybe that’s beginning to change.

    1. Hansel

      Firstly, on calling me a “snob”: you know very little about who I am.
      Secondly, calling me a hypocrite, you haven’t made clear what you feel is hypocritical.

      Yes, sadly people on here have said that hydroxychloroquine is a cure and the government won’t go about getting it for us. This is – as we both agree – unfounded conspiracy theory.

      Other people are asking legitimate questions. Particularly: complaining about the quality of data, lack of data, lack of detail, lack of up-to-date information. These are legitimate and (in my opinion) important questions.

      Opaque language CAN BE spin, agreed.
      It’s a leap, though to say “Opaque language is spin”.
      As an example, an article was posted broadsheet questioning the discrepancy in “the backlog numbers”. The problem is “the backlog” can refer to multiple things: people waiting to be tested, people’s completed tests waiting for processing, people’s processed tests waiting to be returned.
      By discussing “backlog numbers” in opaque (or to use less inflammatory wording now, “nonspecific” or “general”) language, we lose a proper understanding of what’s going on.

      Similar with “Healthcare Facilities”.
      What does this mean? Is it nursing homes? Care homes? Hospitals? It means a lot of things and it means nothing. People usually use such general language to try and protect the anonymity of the facility in question. If they were going to talk about “a care home in Clonmel”, then people would be able to figure out exactly which one they’re talking about.

      There’s a thin line between “keeping confidentiality”, and “losing all meaning”.
      As of a few days ago I was not able to tell whether all “Healthcare Facilities” were being hit hard. I have family working in both Hospitals and Residential Facilities. Are they all in danger? I wanted to know. As we now understand, Care Homes and Nursing Homes really suffering the brunt of COVID19. The Government may have had this information, but the opaque use of “Healthcare Facilities” obscured it from us. Do I think that’s spin? Not necessarily. Could it have been spin? Yes absolutely.

      With the greatest of respect – and I am grateful if you’ve read my long diatribe this far – I think you may understand now that I do not presume a nefarious intent behind every such information gap. I don’t see this “presumption of innocence” as hypocritical, rather there’s an awful lot in this world that’s not perfect. To continue in this vein, many people on here say things like “the person responsible should be reprimanded”. My thoughts are “how could that have happened”. The gulf between those two mindsets is perhaps what you’re seeing as “hypocritical”?

      I agree that government been given an easy ride so far, but to be honest I think until we’re on a downward curve with COVID19 infections, that’ll probably be the case. When the dust settles we’ll probably be asking questions like: why WAS ICU capacity so low? If our numbers of nurses are so high, why were they not cross-trained? Etc.

      But I reserve the right to ridicule people calling Covid 19 a hoax.
      And people who think we’re not being told about miracle cures and treatments.

      Anyway, look, at the end of the day that’s just my opinion. And if you think I’m wrong and a bad person for that, then that’s OK too.

  4. Andrew

    “But I reserve the right to ridicule people calling Covid 19 a hoax.
    And people who think we’re not being told about miracle cures and treatments.”

    and I am in complete agreement with you on these points.

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