Tag Archives: Leo Varadkar

Fine Gael Leader Leo Varadkar and former Senior Minister Michael Ring

“Any minister whose main focus is their own constituency is actually neglecting most of the country so ministers must have a national remit and that’s the way I would certainly expect all ministers to think.”

A statement from Leo Varadkar earlier this week apparently directed at Mayo Fine Gal TD Michael Ring, who lost his role as a Senior Minister under the new three-party government arrangement..

Meanwhile…

I don’t know what he meant by that comment but… if any other minister did more for Ireland and for rural Ireland….You ask the councillors around the country, you can ask the elected representatives, ask the communities what I’ve done for them…

“I will look after Mayo and I make no apologies for looking after Mayo. The people of Mayo gave me 15,000 votes and elected me on the first count, the only Fine Gael TD in the country that was elected on the first count.

Leo Varadkar got 8,000 votes and it took him five counts to get elected. Between himself and Paschal Donohoe, they got 12,000 votes and I beat the two of them put together. So I make no apology for representing the people.”

Michael Ring in conversation with Midwest Radio news editor Theresa O’Malley

Taking it well.

Ring For Taoiseach? Mayo TD Takes Major Swipe At His Party Leader  (Anthony Hennigan, Western People)

Rollingnews

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, talk to the media while they visit the HSE Dublin Covid 19 response hub last April

This morning.

Should a FF/FG/Green coalition take office…

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is not expected to be a senior or junior minister in a new coalition government between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party….

…Fine Gael is expected to take the Department of Justice while Fianna Fáil will take the Department of Housing. Fine Gael will also take Finance and Foreign Affairs and it is also expected it will take the Department of Jobs.

The Department of Children will become the Department of Children, Disability and Equality and a new Department of Climate, Energy, Transport and Natural Resources will be created

The latter is expected to go to Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. A junior ministry responsible for roads is expected to be allocated to either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael….

FIGHT!

Cabinet carve-up: Jobs in new government handed out but no ministry for Varadkar ally Eoghan Murphy (Irish Times)

Photocall Ireland

From top: a Dublin Nursing home; The Citywest emergency ICU facility; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (centre) with HSE CEO Paul Reid (left) and Minister For Health at the Citywest opening; DrTony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and chairman of The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET); from left: Mr Reid with Dr Colm Henry (right) Chief Clinical Office, HSE arriving for a Covid 19 Committee meeting in Leinster House on June 6

There are approximately 440 private nursing homes and 120 HSE-run nursing homes in Ireland with around 30,000 residents.

More than 1,680 patients were approved for transfer from acute hospitals to private nursing homes in March (1,363) and April (324), the height of the pandemic.

This was as emergency ICU facilities and private wards secured by the government lay empty.

According to the most recent data, 943 people have died in nursing homes from Covid-19 with a further 5,371 who are Covid-19 positive.

This policy was replicated in seven European countries and five states in America, most notably New York, where before a u-turn, 4,300 recovering Covid-19 patients were sent to nursing homes in the state.

Below is a timeline of events as they pertain to residents of nursing homes in Ireland from the  the beginning of the virus until this week. Any additions or corrections will be made (just leave a comment).

February 19, 2020: The CEO of the HSE Paul Reid meets with representatives of nursing homes to discuss Covid-19 preparedness. On April 16, Minister for Health Simon Harris informs the Dáil that this meeting occurred and said:

“I am told by local HSE staff that there was an unprecedented level of engagement by individual HSE officials with nursing homes.

That is not to say in any manner or means that enough has been done. We need to do more.

This is a pandemic in which we take actions every single day. We then take another set of actions and then another set. That is what we are doing.”

In respect of the same February 19 meeting, CEO of the HSE Paul Reid told the Oirecachtas Covid-19 committee on May 19:

“Specifically, on the meeting with Nursing Homes Ireland, I would meet and discuss with Tadhg Daly on a reasonable basis throughout this whole process – in the pandemic over the last few weeks. There have been very good relationships between Nursing Homes Ireland and the HSE throughout this period.

“On the Deputy’s question of 19 February specifically, I can remember the meeting clearly. I have met a wide range of stakeholders since I took over the HSE. That was my first meeting with Nursing Homes Ireland. It was my first meeting with Tadhg Daly and its chairperson, Maurice Pratt. It was really geared towards an informal welcome and discussion…

“We had a brief discussion about how this may impact on Ireland. There was a very brief discussion between both of us. I would be doing it an injustice and indeed the HSE an injustice to say it was an in-depth discussion because we were just learning at the start of this – 19 February was very early stages.”

February 28: Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan confirms the first case of Covid-19 has been detected on the island of Ireland, involving a woman who travelled through Dublin Airport on her way home to Northern Ireland from northern Italy. She subsequently tested positive for the illness on returning home to Belfast.

February 29: The Health Protection Surveillance Centre confirms the first case of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland. The patient is a male in the east of the country.

It’s also reported that the first death of a Covid-19 patient had taken place in the US.

March 1: Scoil Chaitriona secondary school in Glasnevin, Dublin 9, closes for two weeks. Health officials do not publicly name the school but its identified on social media. It follows confirmation that a male student had Covid-19. He had been at an at-risk area in northern Italy.

March 2: Paul Cullen reports in The Irish Times that Covid-19 is especially worrying for elderly people with underlying health conditions.

He writes::

 “In the US, a serious outbreak near Seattle has occurred in a nursing home. Obviously, the risk of something similar happening in Ireland is a huge worry.”

He later added:

 “Nursing Homes Ireland, representing the owners of private nursing homes, has sought to reassure the public that its members have the experience to know what to do if the virus arrives, given their experience in dealing with seasonal flu and the vomiting bug. Some restrictions on visiting may be needed if the threat from the virus rises.”

March 6: It’s reported that visiting restrictions are being introduced in more than 400 private and voluntary nursing homes across Ireland. Nursing Homes Ireland says no non-essential visits by children or groups would be allowed.

March 9: The Government cancels all St Patrick’s Day parades.

March 10: The Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said blanket restrictions on visitors at nursing homes and some hospitals should be lifted as they were premature.

He said visitor restrictions at private nursing homes had a major impact on residents, for whom social interaction was a key part of wellbeing.

While restrictions might be necessary in a particular nursing home depending on circumstances, he said there was no case for across-the-board restrictions, saying: “We want to avoid introducing measures before they are really necessary.”

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NEPHT) announced in a statement that “socially restrictive actions” around hospitals and nursing homes were “not necessary at this moment in time”.

It’s reported that the annual St Patrick’s Day reception in Washington DC has been cancelled but that a meeting between the US President Donald Trump and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will still take place.

On the same day, Nursing Homes Ireland writes to the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the letter is also sent to the chief executive of the HSE Paul Reid, and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

In the letter, the NHI called on the Government to lift curbs on the recruitment of healthcare assistants from outside the EU and warned that older people’s health could be placed in danger if HSE poached nursing home staff following the lifting of public service recruitment restrictions.

March 11: A woman in the east of the country dies of Covid-19, the  first death to take place in Ireland.

The World Health Organisation says Covid-19 is a pandemic.

March 12: Speaking from Washington in the US, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announces the closure of schools and significant public restrictions in Ireland until March 29 because of Covid-19.

Rose Hegarty, an 84-year-old resident of St Mary’s Hospital nursing home in the Phoenix Park, Dublin listens to Mr Varadkar’s speech from her bedroom.

March 16: Dr Tony Holohan says that restrictions will be imposed on visitors to nursing homes, hospitals and prisons.

March 17: During a St Patrick’s Day speech broadcast on RTÉ and Virgin Media One, under Section 122 of the Broadcast Act 2009, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tells those listening and watching that the restrictions will likely go beyond March 29. He adds:

“We’re in the middle of a global and national emergency. A pandemic. The likes of which none of us have seen before. So far, the number of cases in Ireland has been relatively small. However we believe the number will rise to 15,000 cases or more by the end of the month and rise further in the weeks thereafter.”

He also says:

“At a certain point we will advise the elderly and people who have a long-term illness to stay at home for several weeks. We’re putting in place the systems to ensure that if you are one of them, you will have food, supplies and are checked on. We call it cocooning and it will save many lives, particularly the lives of the most vulnerable, the most precious in our society.”

It’s also reported that Nursing Homes Ireland is appealing for people within hospitality and retail to look for opportunities to care for older people. CEO of NHI Tadhg Daly is reported as saying:

“One considerable concern is to ensure a staffing complement is consistently available to meet the day-to-day social care needs of nursing home residents, especially at a time of emergency and with visitor restrictions.”

“Irish people have a tremendous ability to support one another during difficult times and this has never been more required.”

March 21: In a HSE memo from David Walsh, National Director of Community Operations, to the chief officers of community healthcare organisations, about revised guidance in relation to testing.

Mr Walsh tells his colleagues:

“Following confirmation of a Covid positive diagnosis within the unit/centre then it is assumed that all residents presenting with symptoms are Covid positive. Multiple re-referrals to NAS for potential Covid cases should be avoided.”

March 22: It’s reported that  40,000 people are waiting up to five days for Covid-19 tests. It’s also reported that “when asked about reports of a cluster of positive cases at a nursing home, the HSE said outbreaks of infectious diseases in nursing homes were not uncommon and staff were used to dealing with this issue. However, the scale and numbers would be extremely challenging.”

A cluster is defined as two laboratory-positive cases in an institution.

The report added: “The HSE has asked the media not to identify any nursing homes concerned.”

March 24: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announces further restrictions until April 19.

March 25: The HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre reports that there have been six outbreak clusters of Covid-19 in hospitals and four in nursing homes.

It’s also reported that 21 male residents of a nursing home in the Vosges in France, all aged in their 90s, are believed to have died of Covid-19. It’s feared as many as 100,000 nursing home residents could die of Covid-19.

March 26: Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan expresses concern about clusters of cases in healthcare settings such as hospitals and long-stay settings such as nursing homes.

March 27: In a report about the statistic that about 25 per cent of confirmed cases are health workers, at least four Covid-19 outbreaks have occurred in nursing homes and that nursing home operators, and others, are concerned about a lack of guidance and the availability of PPE.

Later, new figures show there have been nine Covid-19 clusters in nursing homes. Dr Holohan says the clusters are a significant concern for public health experts.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announces further restrictions for two weeks, until Easter Sunday on April 12, specifically that people must remain at home, with limited exceptions, and must remain within 2km of their homes when shopping for food or exercising. During his speech he mentions the increase of clusters in nursing home and residential care centres.

He also quotes from the movie The Terminator 2: Judgement Day when he says, “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”

Continue reading

June 10.

Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls (2004) and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this evening

This evening.

Top bants?

Or immensely sad?

Only YOU can decide.

The limit does not exist?

Mean Girls?

Related: I Should Be So Sucky

From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin at government buildings this morning

This morning.

Update:

The Programme for Government.

Read here.

Earlier: Loud And Clear

Rollingnews

Thanks Alan Bracken

Earlier this evening.

Further to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar quoting The Terminator when he announced further movement restrictions on March 27…

He ended his address to the nation with a quote from Lord of the Rings:

“In the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines, it’ll shine out all the clearer.”

Ah here.

Previously: “There’s No Fate But What We Make For Ourselves”

Rollingnews

Top from left: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar , Minister for Health Simon Harris and Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, Department of Healtht his afternoon

This afternoon.

Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Up to 25 people can attend funerals and Public libraries can open on Monday.

From Monday groups of up to six can meet indoors or outdoors once they keep 2 metres apart.

Groups of up to 15 people can meet for outdoor sporting activities.

From Monday over 70s and the vulnerable can welcome people to their homes.

Also from Monday people can travel anywhere in their own county or 20km from their homes, whichever is the greater (see here)

Phase 3, beginning on 29 June, will see all domestic travel restrictions lifted.

Cabinet agreed to implement all elements of Phase 2 and bring forward actions in remaining phases.

There will now only be 4 phases. Phase 3 on 29 June and Phase 4 from 20 July.

Taoiseach statement on easing of Covid-19 restrictions (RTÉ)

Earlier: Within Your County

Photocall Ireland

Update:

Waiter! There’s a fly in my pint.

Meanwhile…

Last night/this morning.

Via The Irish Times:

Both Mr Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that any programme for government must reflect Fine Gael values, citing fiscal responsibility and the deficit.

The Taoiseach suggested that if the deficit is not tackled – with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil favouring plans to reduce the deficit in the latter half of a five-year term – this would send out a signal to the markets that Ireland is not serious, as would the postponement of the increase in the State pension age, another sticking point in the talks.

Mr Varadkar is said to have told his TDs: “It won’t be government at all costs.”

Programme for government must include ‘fiscal responsibility’ – Varadkar (Irish Times)

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

Via The Irish Times:

In a briefing to the media following Friday’s Cabinet meeting, Mr Varadkar said secondary schools and primary schools will reopen fully at the start of the school year.

However…

He said it may not be possible for every pupil to attend every school for the whole day every day at the start of school term but the intention was to revert to that as quickly as possible.

Also…

Katherine Zappone, the Minister for Children, also confirmed that childcare facilities will reopen with “playpods” for young children, with up to six infants aged under one being allowed in a single playpod….

Hmm.

Meanwhile…

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe meanwhile said that the temporary wage subsidy scheme will now apply to people returning to work from maternity leave, and from paternity leave.

Govt intends to reopen primary and secondary schools at end of August (RTÉ)

Taoiseach has confirmed schools will reopen at the end of August (Irish Times)

Earlier: ‘Behaving As Though Every Home Still Had A Stay At Home Mother’

Photocall Ireland

Meanwhile…

Previously: €44,000 Paid Per Private Bed In April

Mountjoy Square Park, Dublin 1 last month

This afternoon.

Via The Irish Times:

Gardaí are expected to operate a scaled-down operation this bank holiday weekend to enforce the coronavirus movement restrictions as the force switches focus from roads to parks, beaches and beauty spots.

While an enforcement operation will be in place this weekend, it is expected to be on a smaller scale and will focus on road safety rather than enforcing the movement restrictions.

This week Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said over the coming weeks the force’s coronavirus policing will focus on monitoring the movement restrictions through “community engagement at key locations such as parks, beaches and natural beauty spots

Garda to scale down Covid enforcement operation ahead of hottest weekend this year (Irish Times)

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Leo Varadkar (right) in Phoenix Park Dublin last Sunday

[Leo Varadkar] said [On FM104 earlier] that there will be no repeat picnic in the park this weekend as he doesn’t “want to give my press officer a heart attack or anything.”

He said: “Unfortunately there are camera phones anywhere there are people these days but that’s the way it is. You have to live your life. And if you’re afraid of photographs you’d never go out.”

Thanks topless Blueshirt.

‘Not at that point yet’: Taoiseach says Ireland isn’t ready for 1-metre social distancing (iRadio)

Earlier: Roaming Charge