From top: Doctor Owen O Flynn discusses his experience with Covid-19 watched by Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health at a briefing last week; Senator Michael McDowell
Independent Senator Michael McDowell in the Irish Times has called for public access to NPHET’s data, “raw or distilled” and its briefing or advice so its decisions can be “understood and evaluated”.
If decisions are to be taken by the Government on the basis of Nphet data, modelling, projections and advice, is there any case for one comma of it to be kept secret? Is there any justification for according Nphet the function of sole State advocate or editor or interpreter of unseen data or propagator of secret proposals?
With Nphet allies being granted access to the airwaves to predict 20,000 or 30,000 deaths as has recently happened, surely we are entitled to know exactly what scenarios were painted by Nphet for the Government’s consideration – and in minute detail?
We know that some of their advice around nursing homes has been wrong in the past. Likewise, we know that they have flip-flopped dramatically on the safety and utility of mask-wearing.
Exactly what were the proportions of the projected crisis that they outlined to the Government which persuaded Ministers including the sceptical Leo Varadkar to “come on board” the Nphet agenda?
Senator McDowell added:
On September 3rd, RTÉ broadcast an item about an unfortunate young doctor who contracted Covid at the age of 23. The nation was informed in detail of the very serious effects and the dangers he encountered during his treatment.
A month later, the same young doctor was presented by Nphet at its daily press conference to repeat his sorry tale. That demonstrates that Nphet does not consider itself to be a purely advisory body to the Government, but also accords itself an advocacy role.
Previously: Doogie O’Howser