From top: Former Minister for Health  Simon Harris outside a cabinet meeting last January; The first coronavirus briefings for Minister Simon Harris.

This afternoon.

Horribly optimistic.

Briefing documents in full here

Right To Know

Rollingnews

Thanks Ken

15 thoughts on “Origin Story

  1. Rob_G

    I think that Ken Foxe does great work, and I’m glad that he submitted this FoI request, but I can’t really find a smoking gun (if there is supposed to be one here) – ECDC said that the the risk is low, but we should all keep an eye on it(?)

    Reply
    1. Commenter #1

      Exactly, leaving out the end of that sentence distorts the message slightly but significantly.

      Also, the next page of the memo states that the HSE is closely monitoring the situation via WHO and ECDC risk assessments, and has issued advisory notices and taken other actions. Hardly sitting on their hands, nothing to see here-style.

      Reply
      1. Commenter #1

        Also, within a short period the briefings had shifted to state that there was a moderate-to-high risk of the virus being imported into a European country, based on the ECDC risk assessment. This is reassuring rather than damning.

        Reply
          1. Rob_G

            In fairness, with the benefit of hindsight, I think all health authorities February predictions for how the virus would pan out were ‘horribly optimistic’.

          2. George

            It is easy to say it was optimistic in retrospect but risk assessments can only be done based on the information available at the time.

            Some people will say they knew what was coming but there are also people spreading the news of black death cases in Mongolia as though this is the new threat but it isn’t unusual and is treatable with antibiotics.

          3. Commenter #1

            My issue is with stating that the post is “educational,” not “finger pointing,” and including the descriptor “Horribly optimistic.” Sounds finger-pointy to me!

  2. Toby

    Another benefit of being part of the international community. And a reminder of the dangers of anti-eu merchants, and people who would tear down the EDCD WHO, UN NATO and other international
    organisations.

    We have played a good game with the help of our partners. So looking for villains, while fun, is of little benefit at the moment. Instead lets be grateful for those that have served us so well. Makes for a more pleasant and gratitude filled summer too.

    Reply
  3. Ken Foxe

    The Department of Health had repeatedly refused to release these records even though some of them were nearly historic in nature by the time they were requested.
    It’s information that could easily be put in the public domain on a rolling basis with a reasonable time lag and I found it interesting to give a picture of what discussions were underway in the early days of the public health crisis.
    There’s no reason for it to be so difficult to get these types of records.
    It wouldn’t make sense for me to make these requests, go through the material myself, and then leave them buried in my email where nobody can read them.
    The thread about them tries to be chronological and narrative, posting as much information as possible and trying to give a fair sense of what each record says.
    Not everything has to be a Gotcha and my intention with publication is just to make them available to people.

    Reply
  4. Liam Deliverance

    Good work Ken and Right to Know team – it reminds me of a promise to release NPHET minutes

    Reply

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