Doctor who denied health emergency removed from post as Shannondoc chair

Dr Pat Morrissey described Nphet as ‘megalomaniac bureaucrats’ at protest

The protest outside the  Custom House Dublin on Saturday. Photograph:  Stephen Collins

The protest outside the Custom House Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Stephen Collins

 

A doctor who described the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) as “megalomaniac bureaucrats” at an anti-mask rally in Dublin last week has been removed from his position as chairman of Shannondoc in Co Limerick.

Dr Pat Morrissey told some 1,000 people outside the Custom House in Dublin on Saturday that coronavirus is “no longer a health emergency” and that people should “take back” the country.

The Adare-based GP also said he had used the drug hydroxychloroquine on “high-risk” Covid-19 patients and that Nphet was being used to “subdue the people of Ireland”.

Hydroxychloroquine has been widely promoted by US president Donald Trump but has been shown in many studies to be ineffective for treating the virus.

“Our rights are being trampled by the Government organisation called Nphet,” Dr Morrissey said. “Nphet are completely out of touch, the minutes of their meetings show scant regard for the general health of the nation.

Freedom

“By any reasonable definition at this point, Covid is no longer a health emergency. We must take back our country and our freedom from these megalomaniac bureaucrats.”

Saying that he had seen a lot of coronavirus patients, he went on: “For many, it is a mild illness but for some, I accept that it can be serious, especially for those with multiple co-morbidities, such as old age and obesity.”

In a statement, Shannondoc thanked Dr Morrissey for his “significant contribution” to the organisation, but confirmed that he is no longer its chairman or a member of the board. It added: “As a frontline healthcare service provider, Shannondoc fully supports and follows public health guidance.”

‘Had to go’

A local group campaigning for the return of Shannondoc services that have fallen due to budgetary cuts said Dr Morrissey’s remarks “flew in the face” of the work being done by medical staff in the State.

“Pat Morrissey had to go after his remarks over the weekend. They flew in the face of all the people who are working on the ground,” said Noeleen Moran, co-chair of the Reinstate Shannondoc group.

The Limerick Leader reported that when asked if it was fair that he was removed from his position at Shannondoc, Dr Morrissey said: “I think it’s a sad indictment of a country that we live in and the time we live in, that things are so polarised and there isn’t room for free speech, and that I would be penalised because of that. But I respect the board’s integrity and they have made a judgment.”