Answer A Broadsheet Reader [Updated]


Michael McNamara TD


Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara, who recently served as Chairman of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Response, will take to the piping hot stool of doom to answer YOUR questions.

The committee’s final report was published last week and recommendations included quicker tracking and tracing and a ‘stronger regulatory framework’ for nursing home residents, those in Direct Provision and people working in meat plants.

Deputy McNamara warned last night that further restrictions may be viewed by the public as ‘further punishment’ and even as ‘an act of tyranny’.

Please leave a question(s) for Michael McNamara TD on Covid issues or any other matter (yes, even about his celebrated, tousled hair) below and we will ask him them, via the medium of ‘telly’.

Deadline for questions: Tuesday, 4.30pm.

Previously: Answer A Broadsheet Reader on Broadsheet

36 thoughts on “Answer A Broadsheet Reader [Updated]

  1. Brother Barnabas

    and another if I may:

    when the overriding objective back in march / april was to ‘flatten the curve’, did anyone cheekily suggest bringing back mary harney/dr james reilly for that purpose ?

  2. Qwerty123

    What’s your favourite song on the Oliver soundtrack? The one you were listening to loudly whilst being chased by gardai and couldn’t hear the siren? (or see the flashing lights)

  3. Micko

    Very hard to think of a question for Michael, as he seems to be asking all the right questions anyway. ;-)

    And fair play to you Michael for having the nerve to ask the difficult questions.

    I suppose the only thing I’d ask him does he think that there is a reason that we haven’t increased ICU capacity in our hospitals?

    It seems incredible that we haven’t, especially since we have had 8 months to do so.

  4. Ray

    Hi Michael. Do you know if our ICUs are filling up at the same rate as previous years? Also, do we know how many of our COVID hospitalisations and ICU cases are both PCR positive and displaying COVID symptoms? Thank you. Maybe some commenters can answere these.

  5. Andy

    Given what we’ve seen earlier in the year, with official covid deaths overestimated, as reported by HIQA
    (Analysis of excess all-cause mortality in Ireland during the COVID-19 epidemic 3 July 2020), does Michael have any idea of how current covid hospitalisation no’s compare to previous years, for respiratory related hospitalisations?

  6. Interested person

    Dear Deputy McNamara,

    First off, thank you for taking the time to listen to peoples direct concerns in this public forum which is less filtered by vested interests.
    There are many who never let a crisis go to waste.

    Here are my questions :

    1. Dr. Martin Feeley, a senior doctor in the Midlands Hospital Group, is of the opinion that keeping patients free from Covid19 in hospital is a question of staffing, training and PPE.
    He said in a recent interview (I think it was Primetime) he could guanantee it.
    Given the extraordinary expense of managing Covid19 to date why do you think that this option hasn’t been explored and costed for the elderly and vulnerable as an alternative.
    Indeed, why are no alternatives being considered or even allowed?

    2. Given that our health system was massively overloaded before there was ever Covid19 (remember the hundreds on trolleys every day) in your opinion why has there been no expansion of ICU or hospital capacity
    during the summer months when we know that standard seasonal illnesses would resume once Autumn arrived ?
    People have been dying prematurely in this rubbish service for decades. Pretending that Covid is tipping us over the edge is a denial of reality and years of mismanagement.

    3. The vaccine is unlikely to benefit the elderly or vulnerable as their immune systems are usually in a poor state. Vaccinating everyone else (ignoring any vaccine harm) is just another way of getting herd immunity.
    The disease does not harm those under 19 and very few under 50. Why is this route to herd immunity not also analysed ?

    4. Data on the disease in Ireland is wholly inadequate. If I want to find the age and co-morbity status of those that entered high dependency (as opposed to ICU) today as opposed to yesterday I can’t find it.
    Why is the quality of data collection so bad? Surely we cannot make good decisions without quality data ?

    5. In Spain the Levels are activated by breaches of thresholds e.g. % of ICU beds available. Linking the Levels to useful KPI’s seems sensible.
    Why aren’t we doing that ?

    6. Do you agree that with the disease now prevalent in all counties and in large numbers that the county by county travel ban is useless in preventing further transmission.
    It would appear to many that some rules are simply not fit for purpose or contradictory. It is no wonder therefore that people ignore some advice.
    Why aren’t ineffectual rules challengable?

    7. Given that NEPHT have such power what oversight is available on them. Do you think the public should have access to their disease modelling, data sources, clinical opinions etc.
    I would like to see this published and updated for every meeting – would you ?

    8. What is the strategy for the current plan ? If a vaccine does not appear for many years are we to YoYo the lockdowns for a decade or more ? We pay lots of clever people big salaries to manage such matters.
    After all planning for and managing disease outbreaks is what epidemiologists do for a living. Covid many be new but disease is time immemorial. What precisely are the objectives and
    cost / benefits of doing what we currently do ? Has anyone even looked at quantifying this and ranking it against options ? And if not – why not?

    9. Do you favour mandatory vaccination ? Is this ever discussed in the Dail by the other members. I understand that I have rights to bodily integrity under the constitution.
    Will these be overturned using the Public Good argument or will the Constitution be suspended like in 1939 ? Would you vote in favour of this ?

    I understand that these are complex difficult questions to give a considered answer to. I think it is important to raise them and let them be seen. It’s ok if you don’t have a solution right now. But please give them some airing.

    Best Regards

    1. dav

      “The vaccine is unlikely to benefit the elderly or vulnerable as their immune systems are usually in a poor state”
      jesus wept…

      1. ian-oh

        “The vaccine is unlikely to benefit the elderly or vulnerable as their immune systems are usually in a poor state”

        I presume they (Interested Person) can back that one up with, for example, statistics on the number of elderly people who have severe reactions to something like the flu vaccine? I know lots of elderly people who get it every year with zero problems.

          1. ian-oh

            According to that report, it says it will be more difficult to tailor a vaccine for elderly people, not impossible. They clearly have a workable one for the flu so its only a matter of tweaking it to make it work, although the time frame is obviously not clear on that.

            The concerns seem more time related than viability. If we can make a vaccine we can tweak it, the when is the real issue here.

            If we can’t make one then no idea where we go after that? Having said that, while I would generally be OK with taking vaccines, the speed that they are moving at means I would be wary of the first generation batch of it as it seems that in the US at least, they are more interested in saying they have one as opposed to being 100% sure of its safety and viability.

    2. MME

      The “mandatory” vaccination question – FFS – please don’t ever have children.

      Surprised this luminary didn’t ask a question about the dangers of 5G and McNamara’s position on QANON.

      Nowt so strange as folk.

  7. Liam Deliverance

    “The committee’s final report was published last week and recommendations included quicker tracking and tracing and a ‘stronger regulatory framework’ for nursing home residents, those in Direct Provision and people working in meat plants.”

    Will the recommendations of the committee be implemented and will they be implemented in a suitable time-frame to be effective and to be worth the time, effort and cost it took to arrive at these recommendations?

    Should the government not be far more transparent on the pandemic in terms of the possible strategies to deal with it and in terms of the financial costs associated with it?

    Thanks to Deputy McNamara for participating, and to for creating this forum.

  8. SOQ

    In the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response, you asked Dr. Colm Henry Chief, Clinical Officer with the HSE how many cycles are utilised in the Irish testing- of PCR. He said he could not answer but would revert.

    Did he- and how many do they use? Were you surprised that he did not know?

    Also, given that this virus has already swept across the island, how useful do you think a functioning track and trace system would be at this point?

    1. SOQ

      Sorry no ‘response’ In the ‘Special Committee on Covid-19…” in the above question.

      Despite the rumours- I am not perfect.

  9. Tom

    Hi Michael,

    Allowing public worship seems to be low down on the list of priorities for Government and NPHET. Currently Ireland is the only country in Europe where public worship isn’t taking place. Dr. Ronan Glynn has used the term “unimportant” as regards religion, while cabinet doesn’t appear to be very well stacked with committed religious believers. Do you think there’s an implicit bias against the importance of religion at work in the positions of Government and NPHET?



  10. John F

    What are the plans to recover the costs of all this?
    Has he heard any murmurings of international bodies like the European Union. Using this crisis as cover for deeper integration both politically and economically?
    What sort of pressure is being applied politically for NPHET make all the detailed data used to justify their recommendations public work for proper scrutiny.
    How long does he think that this is sustainable for, the economic cost of severe but the social cost in terms of mental health, gatherings, et cetera is worse.
    The restrictions are being justified by the increased level of detected infections. But we are carrying out considerably more tests now than say 2 months ago. One would expect the number of detected infections to rise as a number of tests carried out rises. This metric is wholly unsuitable? Has the committee considered any others in the past?

  11. Username already in use

    This is more of a comment. I spent 7 months of 2020 in Taiwan. Probably you know already that this year there have been less than 600 Covid infections in Taiwan and 7 deaths. When I returned to Ireland I got the shock of my life. In Ranelagh where I was self isolation I saw elderly people wearing plastic face shields without masks and calling them “face coverings”. By Taiwanese public health standards this would lead to the arrest of the wearer in public places where mask wearing is mandatory. Nobody followed up with me after I arrived.
    I could have been out every night had I so wished and there would have been no consequences. I could go on but given that the experience of every Asian country is that if you control travel and make proper face mask wearing (not face coverings) mandatory then you will defeat the disease why, oh why, is this not being done in Ireland? I had planned to move home this year. But the contrast between feckless and irresponsible Ireland and sensible Taiwan is just too great. I will spend the rest of the year in Taiwan. The way things are going in Ireland i’m planning several more years in Asian exile. What would be the point of coming back to this utter disaster that is completely self inflicted. Pointing to the incompetence of the British or the inane behaviour of the US presidency doesn’t get the Irish leadership off the hook for this. If you set the bar at Brexit Boris and Dumbo Donald then you have set an appallingly low bar. I get that nothing original is ever attempted by the two parties sharing power. But you could just look at the similar places in Asia and learn how to do it by slavishly copying, not the WHO, not the NHS but people who actually have gotten it right. Or is your medicine so racist that what works in asia cannot possibly be comparable to what works in Ireland?

  12. Clampers Outside

    A young man struggles to meet the medical bills for his mother and turns to a life of organised crime.
    That’s the plot to Johnny Dangerously, have you seen it Mr McNamara?
    It’s got Michael Keaton in it.

  13. Gay Fawkes

    Hi Michael, there are a number of contradictory measures the Government has put forward.
    * People are being told they can’t meet in their gardens at a distance, yet if they stepped outside their driveway they can meet and chat. Meanwhile, 30 hurlers can spit and maul each other on a pitch for an hour and a half or so.
    * Pubs can offer takeaway beers, but where is it suggested that people drink these beers? Is it in the street? (that’s illegal) Is it in their homes? It’s not quite clear.
    * Non-essential shops which have lower footfall and social interactions are being closed, such as arts and crafts shops, knitting supplies, the local hardware DIY store that sell moustraps, etc. Why have the Government not been challenged on what’s essential and what’s not. Who decides that a chocolate factory and a mine are essential? Who decides that an art shop is not essential? Who decides that a meat factory with 20 cases is essential? Not enough swift shutdowns have occurred and you rightly raised on the Week in Politics that the contract tracing system is too slow and flawed.
    * Social bubbles are now being touted as OK even if you’re more than 5km apart. Surely this will lead to people travelling to other counties, claiming they are visiting their other bubble buddy, i.e. Grandad, the mad cat lady, Aunt Jemima with one eye, whatever you’re having… It’s all very loose. The measures introduced seem like 100% politically motivated window dressing. Either you go the herd immunity route or the complete lockdown route with the Army and curfews etc But we’re now in some No Man’s Land, where the virus is thriving and the economy is being ruined.
    * Obviously we don’t want the hospitals overrun but it’s too late for that now. The schools and airports remain open. Parents who have Covid are sending their children to schools knowing they have Covid. It’s out of control. The lifeboat has too many holes. Most people follow the rules but too many don’t. It’s not possible to plug the leaks in the rescue boat if little sh*ts keep stabbing holes in it.

    My question is, will you stand up in the Dáil and please tell the Government that we, the public, all know that they are headless chickens who are indecisive and sending this country to hell in a handcart?

  14. Lilly

    In the UK, the NHS is offering ‘long covid’ sufferers help at specialist centres so that people with persistent symptoms can be assessed and get treatment, and the disease can be researched. Are any such clinics planned for Ireland?

  15. Sheila

    Mr McNamara indicated on RTE Radio One at the weekend that the collection of self-harm and suicide figures has been suspended since March/April due to Covid. A number of people/doctors/medics on Twitter have since said that this assertion is not correct. Can Mr McNamara elaborate or explain his understanding of the figures?

    Also, does Mr McNamara believe that correct safeguards are currently in place to ensure that what happened in nursing homes doesn’t happen again? Would also love to hear his thoughts on what happened in nursing homes in general.

    Thank you.

  16. Joe

    Dr Holohan and NPHET advised the government to lock down two weeks ago. The government said no and allowed more deaths and serious illness accumulate. We are in a worse lockdown situation now as a result of government inaction.
    There was a disgusting reprehensible attack on Holohan and his advice by Leo Varadkar.
    Will you demand Varadkar’s resignation and report his behaviour to the Medical Council ?

  17. Kate

    I believe 25 years is way too long to upgrade “a missing person” to a murder investigation such as Jo Jo Dullard’s case yesterday.
    One can be declared dead after 7 years and surely suffering families deserve more urgency.? Would you agree? Thanks Michael!

  18. Hector Ramirez

    A couple of things for Michael, a lot of the previous questions have covered Covid, IMO a couple have asked questions that I believe we already know how Michael will respond (with his well known opinions of Government reaction to Covid)

    *why did he table a parliamentary question to Min Donnelly, on the high cost of a patient lying on a trolley in UHL, when he himself voted in 2013 on the setting of charges and making it mandatory for those hospitals to collect the charge?

    * since he welcomed the splitting of Shannon airport from DAA, does he still want it to go alone or agree with SF that it should be subsumed once again by the DAA

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