Prime Time viewers left raging after Stephen Donnelly’s ‘car crash’ interview on hospitality delay
Viewers of RTE’s Prime Time were left raging on Tuesday by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s ‘car crash’ interview concerning the delay in reopening hospitality.© Provided by Extra.ie
On Tuesday afternoon, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that the resumption of indoor dining will be postponed until July 19 at the earliest to facilitate the development of a vaccination verification system.
The delay comes after the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) advised the Government that indoor hospitality should be restricted to those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have recovered from the disease in the last nine months, amid fears about the impact of a fourth wave of infection caused by the Delta variant.
© Provided by Extra.ie Viewers of RTE’s Prime Time were left raging on Tuesday by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s ‘car crash’ interview concerning the delay in reopening hospitality. Pic: RTE/ Prime Time
The Government’s decision to follow NPHET’s recommendation to the letter sparked huge backlash among opposition politicians, business owners in the hospitality industry and members of the public, as a ‘two-tier’ system of recovery was railed against as ‘unworkable’ and ‘discriminatory’.
Appearing on Prime Time, Mr Donnelly was left with the unenviable task of defending the unpopular move, frustrating viewers further.
Responding to questions about whether he feels the pessimistic epidemiological analysis presented to the Government by NPHET should be subject to independent review, the Fianna Fáil minister said: ‘I think all analysis, particularly when that informs such serious decision making, all analysis should always be open to review.© Provided by Extra.ie On Tuesday afternoon, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that the resumption of indoor dining will be postponed until July 19 at the earliest to facilitate the development of a vaccination verification system. Pic: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos Dublin
‘But the advice and modelling from NPHET in the past has served us well, it has allowed us to act before some other European countries and to avoid some very bad things happening here.’
He added: ‘I don’t think that we need third party review of the analysis, but what I am saying is that any analysis that is provided to Government should always be open to scrutiny.’
Mr Donnelly went on to express his view that NPHET’s stark projections regarding the Delta variant should not threaten the reopening of schools in September
Viewers took to social media to criticise the minister’s performance, as one person described the interview as a ‘car crash’, while another stated: ‘Stephen Donnelly is frighteningly ill prepared for an interview of this type.
‘He epitomises everything that is wrong with this Government not just in health but Housing, Justice and Finance and Education.’
A third critic wrote: ‘Stephen Donnelly seems to say the first thing that comes into his head, as if he was standing at a flip chart with a marker in hand
A further tweet read: ’18 months or so on, and Stephen Donnelly calls this “adapting to the virus.” Give me f****** strength.’
Others were left fuming by the ongoing reluctance of NPHET to trial antigen testing, as one person said: ‘Stephen, can we AT LEAST admit we are in no way engaging with #antigen testing in any meaningful way?