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Covid & Irish Politics

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 14,684 ✭✭✭✭ VinLieger


    So after getting fed up with the Covid specific forums i checked with the mods here to see if it would be okay to start a thread specifically related to Covid's impact on Irish politics.

    Basically i'm curious to see what peoples opinions are in this forum on how government are handling things from a political perspective as well as how people think the political landscape will be changed going forward, ie the next General Election.

    This thread should be specifically for discussing the politics around Covid, so not the latest infection or vaccine numbers or why you dont think its that bad because survival rates are.... etc etc.


    Ill start with a few thoughts ive had recently.


    Like many others i'm quite fed up with the governments mismanagement of communications since October but very specifically in the last 2 months. I'm of the opinion we should have a maximum of 2 members of Government commenting on Covid in any capacity at all and that is the Taoiseach and Minister for Health whoever they may be at the time. I don't think any members of NPHET should be speaking directly to the media, and neither should any cabinet members or other government backbenchers be talking about it either.

    For anyone who's watched the West Wing as much as I have there's been a quote from S7E12 rattling around in my head since this all began back in March, where Will Bailey is giving out about another government staffer talking to the press.
    "You're being transferred. You no longer speak for this government."
    "For telling people the truth?"
    "For telling people something which can only cause further panic. It doesn't matter if it's true. It doesn't matter if I've already said it. We're trying to prevent mass hysteria in a climate in which even the truth can be misinterpreted, so we speak with one voice. You're lucky you still have a job."

    I think MM is failing seriously at competently leading the country right now for several reasons. Very specifically though the communications issues which in my opinion have been highlighted glaringly this week.

    Neither FG or Leo are innocent in all this either. In my opinion they have lost all credit they gained during the first lockdown with the constant one ups manship they are constantly trying against FF in a time when in their own words we are all meant to be in it together.

    Personally im not sure if i will be able to bring myself to vote for any of the 3 major parties in the next election but I also cannot see how SF don't run away with a majority right now.

    Would be really interested in reading what others have to say on all this and everything else political Covid is inevitably going to affect at some point down the road.


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Comments

  • #2


    VinLieger wrote: »
    So after getting fed up with the Covid specific forums i checked with the mods here to see if it would be okay to start a thread specifically related to Covid's impact on Irish politics.

    Basically i'm curious to see what peoples opinions are in this forum on how government are handling things from a political perspective as well as how people think the political landscape will be changed going forward, ie the next General Election.

    This thread should be specifically for discussing the politics around Covid, so not the latest infection or vaccine numbers or why you dont think its that bad because survival rates are.... etc etc.


    Ill start with a few thoughts ive had recently.


    Like many others i'm quite fed up with the governments mismanagement of communications since October but very specifically in the last 2 months. I'm of the opinion we should have a maximum of 2 members of Government commenting on Covid in any capacity at all and that is the Taoiseach and Minister for Health whoever they may be at the time. I don't think any members of NPHET should be speaking directly to the media, and neither should any cabinet members or other government backbenchers be talking about it either.

    For anyone who's watched the West Wing as much as I have there's been a quote from S7E12 rattling around in my head since this all began back in March, where Will Bailey is giving out about another government staffer talking to the press.



    I think MM is failing seriously at competently leading the country right now for several reasons. Very specifically though the communications issues which in my opinion have been highlighted glaringly this week.

    Neither FG or Leo are innocent in all this either. In my opinion they have lost all credit they gained during the first lockdown with the constant one ups manship they are constantly trying against FF in a time when in their own words we are all meant to be in it together.

    Personally im not sure if i will be able to bring myself to vote for any of the 3 major parties in the next election but I also cannot see how SF don't run away with a majority right now.

    Would be really interested in reading what others have to say on all this and everything else political Covid is inevitably going to affect at some point down the road.

    Michael Martin is a safety first guy, actually scratch that, ultra safe. Whenever he was a minster it was report after report, review after review, committee after committee. He'd nearly need a report and a review to see what shoes to put on in the morning and by the time he decided it would be time to go to bed.

    As you said Leo is just as bad, I thought he got things just right in the original wave and thought there was a case for him staying on as Taoiseach but he has just become so smug and the quips which he thinks are funny are rubbing people up the wrong way.

    Add in to the mix Donnelly and Foley, is this the best we have?
    Jeez I'd even have Barry Cowen back, at least you get a straight answer.

    Not a Green voter and never will be since Gormley's tears at Bertie leaving but I'd have Eamonn Ryan over the other 2


  • #2


    Under the lifting of travel restrictions on April 12th will we be on level 4 or level 5 lockdown?


  • #2


    VinLieger wrote: »
    Would be really interested in reading what others have to say on all this and everything else political Covid is inevitably going to affect at some point down the road.

    I keep an eye on the Irish far-right on Twitter and they've really embraced anti-mask, anti-lockdown and in many cases anti-vaccine rhetoric as well as their usual greatest hits (anti-immigrant, anti-EU, anti-SF, pro-Trump, George Soros conspiracy theories, Q-Anon, etc etc).

    There are a lot of people whose jobs or businesses disappeared. They are angry and they have a lot more time on their hands to spend on social media. What I have noticed is a growing number of accounts that previously would have been regular people tweeting about normal things who are now almost exclusively tweeting anti-lockdown, anti-mask, anti-vacc stuff. They are also following some of the more malignant far-right accounts.

    The far-right have traditionally struggled to gain a foothold in Ireland. The 3 far-right parties along with all the far-right independents did woefully in the Feb 2020 election. I think Covid has created a possible conveyor belt for them to gain traction. A certain percentage of people are going to adopt some of the other topics beyond Covid that the far-right accounts that they follow are filling their timelines with.

    After this Pandemic is finally over I find it difficult to believe that those people are going to go back to the way that they were pre-Pandemic. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube as it were.


  • #2


    I keep an eye on the Irish far-right on Twitter and they've really embraced anti-mask, anti-lockdown and in many cases anti-vaccine rhetoric as well as their usual greatest hits (anti-immigrant, anti-EU, anti-SF, pro-Trump, George Soros conspiracy theories, Q-Anon, etc etc).

    There are a lot of people whose jobs or businesses disappeared. They are angry and they have a lot more time on their hands to spend on social media. What I have noticed is a growing number of accounts that previously would have been regular people tweeting about normal things who are now almost exclusively tweeting anti-lockdown, anti-mask, anti-vacc stuff. They are also following some of the more malignant far-right accounts.

    The far-right have traditionally struggled to gain a foothold in Ireland. The 3 far-right parties along with all the far-right independents did woefully in the Feb 2020 election. I think Covid has created a possible conveyor belt for them to gain traction. A certain percentage of people are going to adopt some of the other topics beyond Covid that the far-right accounts that they follow are filling their timelines with.

    After this Pandemic is finally over I find it difficult to believe that those people are going to go back to the way that they were pre-Pandemic. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube as it were.

    If you consider FF, FG and Labour to be 'far-right' parties I must regard your political judgement to be seriously awry.


  • #2


    I
    The far-right have traditionally struggled to gain a foothold in Ireland. The 3 far-right parties along with all the far-right independents did woefully in the Feb 2020 election.

    (Off-topic?)

    Yes, correct, there aren't any far-right TDs.

    I can't even name these three parties you refer to, that's how weak they are.

    I am curious though, are there any far-right cllrs?

    As there are approx. 13 far-left TDs, I presume there are dozens of far-left cllrs?

    But are there any far-right cllrs?


  • #2


    I think left v right is a debate for another tlpic

    As for Covid, the government balls it up last summer when numbers were very low and they didn't aim to reduce risks of new strains coming into country through quarantine at home for irish citizens (and enforcing it) and mandatory hotel quarantine for non residents entering the country

    I wouldn't have much faith in any of them as they seem to be very wary of actually making a decision
    You'd have to say that the vaccine companies have made things very difficult for them.
    As well as the behaviours of certain minorities

    Would the opposition have done any better? Doubtful


  • #2


    Mistakes have been made and continue to be made at all levels - at political policy level and at department/implementation level. I get frustrated at it sometimes. But I'm not terribly surprised, given the scale of the challenge. It's not something anybody living has had to deal with before.

    I wouldn't be overly critical of any of the political parties that have had power since the start of this. It's easy to look back and point to what should have been done differently. I'd say the same of the opposition parties too - I'd assume that if they'd been in power, mistakes would also have been made, but they'd also have done their best.

    I see this whole Covid issue being above politics. Or maybe below politics, I'm not sure. If I have a single criticism, it's at the countries that adopt a "mé-féin" attitude to vaccines. For all the EU's failings in the area, at least the powerful countries brought the weaker countries along with them. Countries like Germany could have gone it alone and left everybody else behind if they'd wanted.


  • #2


    Good loser wrote: »
    If you consider FF, FG and Labour to be 'far-right' parties I must regard your political judgement to be seriously awry.

    I presume this is some kind of joke about their less than stellar election result because, no of course I do not consider any of them to be far-right.
    Geuze wrote: »
    (Off-topic?)

    Yes, correct, there aren't any far-right TDs.

    I can't even name these three parties you refer to, that's how weak they are.

    I am curious though, are there any far-right cllrs?

    Based on their platforms and the fact that they were registered as actual parties I'm classifying the National Party, the Irish Freedom Party and Renua (who took a turn for the far-right after John Leahy stepped down as leader) as Far Right. A few candidates ran under the ACI banner but that wasn't a registered party.

    Those parties don't have any elected councillors. Paddy Holohan tweeted out yesterday that he was going to join the Irish Freedom party but I think it was an April Fool's joke (he deleted the tweet).

    Are there any independent councillors with far-right views? Quite possibly but I don't think any of them got elected primarily based on them.

    Geuze wrote: »
    As there are approx. 13 far-left TDs, I presume there are dozens of far-left cllrs?

    I'm not sure how you arrived at that figure. There are 5 from Solidarity-PBP who could probably be classified as such. Throw in Joan Collins (I4C) to make 6. After that you're into independents and I don't think any of them could be considered far-left. Maybe you could say Thomas Pringle and at a stretch you could throw in Catherine Connolly but that would still leave you 5 short of 13.


  • #2


    Geuze wrote: »
    (Off-topic?)

    Yes, correct, there aren't any far-right TDs.

    I can't even name these three parties you refer to, that's how weak they are.

    I am curious though, are there any far-right cllrs?

    As there are approx. 13 far-left TDs, I presume there are dozens of far-left cllrs?

    But are there any far-right cllrs?

    Are you counting the Greens or Social Democrats as far left ?

    I would say the SD are more centre left than Labour and there is nothing left wing about the Greens


  • #2


    Maybe I'm wrong with the 13 figure.

    I do not count the Greens/Lab/SocDems as far left.

    I have the figure of 13 in my head, for some reason.

    PBP/AAA/Solidarity/Rise, etc.

    I must check again.


  • #2


    Rise? Aren't they gone?


  • #2


    I believe, in theory, they are a member group of PBP along with the Socialist Workers Party and whatever other one-man-and-his-megaphone groups make it the PBP "Alliance". But to all intents and purposes they're gone and merged with the SWP.

    There might be 13 far left *councillors*, as they all had an appalling 2019 LE, along with SF who will have trouble actually getting much local traction with nobody to back up many TDs in that regard.


  • #2


    Back on topic. This current iteration of government has been probably the most inept and unsteady that I can recall since the early 80s. Literally every big moment has been botched. As mention above they wasted last summer reprieve instead of preparing for the near certainty of that 2nd wave. Then they created the third singled handed by seeking to appease sectional interests. The massive fallout has scared them so much they really don't know what to do or how to do it.

    Quarantine, walk in testing etc all far too late to be genuinely useful. Still no daily test for school children or staff. Anything that requires serious application of planning & effort is avoided.

    They out sourced the control and suppression of a virus to the public as we are cheap and plentiful, the PUP pot is infinite as far as they are concerned because in the end we'll be paying for it. And it'll be a different government post Martin and maybe Varadkar that gets any blowback if taxes rise.


  • #2


    Back on topic. This current iteration of government has been probably the most inept and unsteady that I can recall since the early 80s. Literally every big moment has been botched. As mention above they wasted last summer reprieve instead of preparing for the near certainty of that 2nd wave.....

    Given the marriage of 3 parties, 2 of whom have historically despised each other and the third that has a reputation for flakiness I think the government has been remarkably steady. As for the most inept....The government of 2007-2011 would like a word.

    Governing during a novel virus pandemic is a ridiculously hard task. You are being bombarded with new information and there's a balance to be struck between keeping as many people as safe as possible while at the same time trying to ensure that peopel don't lose hope in perpetual lockdown and businesses are not shut for so long that they never open again.

    No matter what decision you take the sounds of the people who oppose it will be amplified while they people who agree with it tend not to be heard as much. This results in a phenomenon where it seems that every single decision made was the wrong one.

    In many cases the correct course of action will only be known in retrospect and often never at all.

    If you look around the world, not many democratic governments will come out of this looking good.

    When we look back at this in 10 years time the decision to open up at Christmas will be seen as the biggest blunder but beyond that I don't think that anything else will stand out as particularly egregious, especially in comparison to our peers.


  • #2


    I would be much more concerned about the politicians who believe in this zero covid fantasy land. People can rant and rave all they like about hotel quarantine but unless the border between North and South is shut there’s absolutely no point.
    As for the FF/FG/G coalition I think it’s an absolute disaster. FF and FG hate each other and Leo is doing his utmost to make sure MM looks like a fool - and it’s working. There’s no consistency between them. As for the Greens, going into coalition was virtue signalling of the highest order. A sort of “we better get the green vote too so people think we care about the environment” job. A now fractured party with a useless leader and TDs with no teeth. Barely a mention of covid from any of them.
    If everyone is vaccinated this year, I can see a GE happening. MM and maybe even FF are finished. FG are the second highest rated party so we could go back to FG majority.
    SF talk a big game but I genuinely don’t think they would be any better.


  • #2


    It's not just Irish government that is struggling in Europe. Yes communication is a problem but the message at the moment would not be popular anyway. Government in first wave was lucky that UK was complete mess, this time they are doing better.

    Anyway I believe SF will come into power next election. It will be fun because they will have to pay the bill for the pandemic. I predict Siriza or 5 star like trajectory...


  • #2


    meeeeh wrote: »
    It's not just Irish government that is struggling in Europe. Yes communication is a problem but the message at the moment would not be popular anyway. Government in first wave was lucky that UK was complete mess, this time they are doing better.

    Anyway I believe SF will come into power next election. It will be fun because they will have to pay the bill for the pandemic. I predict Siriza or 5 star like trajectory...

    ... and US multinationals heading for a quick exit as they are not going to hang around in a country run by a hard left government (“hard left” just being the euphemism now used by such parties since the phrase “communist” went out of fashion circa 1990).


  • #2


    I think in the longer term the large deficits being run up will lead to an SF government and a demand for social spending. Not necessarily in the next election but perhaps.

    Most people do not make a connection between debt servicing with its deflationary drag on income and the decline in the standard of living because it happens so gradually.

    Instead people see that they are getting poorer, don't understand why and want a solution.

    So I am predicting an intensification of the trend that was already in play from 2008 to February 2020.

    Me: Jesus saves. Everyone else: Pfizer saves



  • #2


    meeeeh wrote: »
    It's not just Irish government that is struggling in Europe. Yes communication is a problem but the message at the moment would not be popular anyway. Government in first wave was lucky that UK was complete mess, this time they are doing better.

    Anyway I believe SF will come into power next election. It will be fun because they will have to pay the bill for the pandemic. I predict Siriza or 5 star like trajectory...

    Whatever about Syriza who were just unable to fix what was an insurmountable mess 5 Star didn't really have any policy and that became clear as soon as they entered government. That catch all please everyone politics was so easy to co-opt for the right. Can definitely see a bit of Sinn Fein in that where there are so many competing groups between NI conservative republicans, ROI left wing, a centre left core of TDs and the apolitical flag waving "uh a up the ra" southern voter


  • #2


    breezy1985 wrote: »
    Whatever about Syriza who were just unable to fix what was an insurmountable mess 5 Star didn't really have any policy and that became clear as soon as they entered government. That catch all please everyone politics was so easy to co-opt for the right. Can definitely see a bit of Sinn Fein in that where there are so many competing groups between NI conservative republicans, ROI left wing, a centre left core of TDs and the apolitical flag waving "uh a up the ra" southern voter

    Oh I agree but my point was more that people project whatever they want on to SF at the moment because they were never in power. Once they get there they will be a disappointment for a large cohort of their voters. Same goes for SD who are more like Greens and they will also shed some td's when they get in power because their politics suddenly won't be pure enough.

    Out of government parties FF will suffer because they have very few competent td's and Green Party has too many idealistic members and tds.


  • #2


    tjhook wrote: »
    Mistakes have been made and continue to be made at all levels - at political policy level and at department/implementation level. I get frustrated at it sometimes. But I'm not terribly surprised, given the scale of the challenge. It's not something anybody living has had to deal with before.

    I wouldn't be overly critical of any of the political parties that have had power since the start of this. It's easy to look back and point to what should have been done differently. I'd say the same of the opposition parties too - I'd assume that if they'd been in power, mistakes would also have been made, but they'd also have done their best.

    I see this whole Covid issue being above politics. Or maybe below politics, I'm not sure. If I have a single criticism, it's at the countries that adopt a "mé-féin" attitude to vaccines. For all the EU's failings in the area, at least the powerful countries brought the weaker countries along with them. Countries like Germany could have gone it alone and left everybody else behind if they'd wanted.

    When this first kicked off, testing and contact tracing was a disaster, but they can be forgiven because it was unprecendented. The fact that it then failed later in the year is unforgiveable.

    They made a complete hash of predicted grades last year, but got away with it because for some reason people were more fixated on the much smaller and quicker resolved mess across the Irish sea. But, to an extent you can forgive them for that, because it was unprecedented.

    This year, despite having had the ability to learn from their mistakes, they made a complete balls of the leaving cert and heaped a ridiculous amount of stress on those taking it. They should be absolutely vilified for this because they had plenty of time to plan, but they didn't.

    As for the "mé-féin" attitude to vaccines, we have a health service that employs 125,000 people and yet have managed to vaccinate the 235,000 that work on the front line. This is banana republic levels of corruption/incompetency/nepotism but, nothing will come of it, because at the end of the day and one thing this pandemic has really highlighted, is that the government do not run this country, it is run by cabals of self interest groups, such as the HSE and teaching unions


  • #2


    Aegir wrote: »
    As for the "mé-féin" attitude to vaccines, we have a health service that employs 125,000 people and yet have managed to vaccinate the 235,000 that work on the front line. This is banana republic levels of corruption/incompetency/nepotism but, nothing will come of it, because at the end of the day and one thing this pandemic has really highlighted, is that the government do not run this country, it is run by cabals of self interest groups, such as the HSE and teaching unions

    The teachers unions conferences have voted to have ballot to strike if they do not get a reversal of them no longer being in the early recipients of the Covid vaccine.

    Well, in seven weeks the secondary teachers will be on holiday, so will not be front facing workers so will not be prioritised, and any strike will be in the next academic year by which time everyone should be fully vaccinated. Even if they were prioritised, they would not be vaccinated until after they start their holidays.

    I think they should go back to school and educate themselves a bit more.


  • #2


    The teachers unions conferences have voted to have ballot to strike if they do not get a reversal of them no longer being in the early recipients of the Covid vaccine.

    Well, in seven weeks the secondary teachers will be on holiday, so will not be front facing workers so will not be prioritised, and any strike will be in the next academic year by which time everyone should be fully vaccinated. Even if they were prioritised, they would not be vaccinated until after they start their holidays.

    I think they should go back to school and educate themselves a bit more.

    It's not about immunisation it's about jealousy because almost everyone is out praising the HSE staff and the Gardai but no one is telling them how special they are.

    Funny I don't see the teachers or anyone in the news going on every day about the fact that the shop workers haven't been prioritized and they have been working all through the pandemic


  • #2


    After all his talk of things getting back to normal for those fully vaccinated, they just want to get in on the act.

    It’s a stupid thing for the government and NPHET to propose, but why wouldn’t they, they’re alright Jack.


  • #2


    breezy1985 wrote: »
    It's not about immunisation it's about jealousy because almost everyone is out praising the HSE staff and the Gardai but no one is telling them how special they are.

    Funny I don't see the teachers or anyone in the news going on every day about the fact that the shop workers haven't been prioritized and they have been working all through the pandemic

    There are 14,000 Gardai and 100,000 teachers.

    The Gardai could be done in a days worth of vaccinations and anyway are ideal as standby patients, as they are very mobile and are spread all over the country. Plus of course they are more likely to come into contact with people doing unnecessary journeys - the super spreaders.

    100,000 teachers - not nearly as mobile and nearly ten times as many. I doubt they could act as a standby list for spare vaccines. No I think they should wait their turn based on age.


  • #2


    Was talk about the President making a kind of Queen's speech to address the nation re Covid and the state of play re vaccines. Idea being he's no political skin in the game and might reassure the public.
    I think it's a good idea.


  • #2


    Was talk about the President making a kind of Queen's speech to address the nation re Covid and the state of play re vaccines. Idea being he's no political skin in the game and might reassure the public.
    I think it's a good idea.

    He is also very popular as a person.


  • #2


    If the coming lifting of restrictions actually continue as planned as well as the vaccinations and we don't get hit the albeit still low possibility of a 4th spike what kind of bounce do people predict will come from this for the Government if any at all?


    Personally i think FG are still well cushioned from the negativity of the lockdowns vs FF who definitely are the face of them since October. What im not sure about though is if that cushioning also goes the other way and any bounce from opening will go in the majority towards FF.


  • #2


    VinLieger wrote: »
    If the coming lifting of restrictions actually continue as planned as well as the vaccinations and we don't get hit the albeit still low possibility of a 4th spike what kind of bounce do people predict will come from this for the Government if any at all?


    Personally i think FG are still well cushioned from the negativity of the lockdowns vs FF who definitely are the face of them since October. What im not sure about though is if that cushioning also goes the other way and any bounce from opening will go in the majority towards FF.

    FF seem unable to get any big name TDs out into the public other than Donnelly who I don't think is that popular. Maybe I am wrong but the public perception still seems to be that this is an FG government


  • #2


    FF were silly to take the health portfolio.
    FG seem to get a much easier ride from social media and journalists


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