In The News podcast: Is now the right time for a Covid-19 inquiry?

In this episode, Fintan O’Toole argues Ireland needs inquiry so to learn from its mistakes

In The News is hosted by reporters Conor Pope and Sorcha Pollak

In The News is hosted by reporters Conor Pope and Sorcha Pollak


Last week the former advisor to the UK prime minister, Dominic Cummings, spoke before a parliamentary committee about the early days of UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

His dramatic testimony highlighted the gravity of the decisions that politicians around the world have had to make during this pandemic – decisions that have quite simply meant life or death for thousands of people.

Is it time for Ireland to hold its own public inquiry into how the State has handled the pandemic to date, or is it too early for an in-depth examination of how this country has coped? Is our Government ready for such detailed scrutiny of their handling of the crisis?

Meanwhile, Irish society is only starting to emerge from months of restrictions. Don’t we deserve some respite before the State dives into an exhaustive analysis of this extraordinary, and frequently painful, period in our lives?

On today’s In the News podcast, Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole argues that the Government should launch a public inquiry straight away so that Ireland can start to learn from its mistakes.

He also asks what the Irish people have learned about the most vulnerable and disenfranchised during times of crises. Nursing home residents, meat plant workers, direct provision residents – what does our treatment of these groups during the pandemic tell us about Irish values?

The ability to reflect on what we’ve done wrong during Covid-19 will be the real “test of the maturity of our democracy”, O’Toole told presenter Sorcha Pollak. “If we can’t do this, then we’re in real trouble.”

In The News is hosted by reporters Conor Pope and Sorcha Pollak.

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