Jennifer O’Connell: The Government doesn’t trust us and it’s mutual

There is good news but officials fear we will lose the run of ourselves again

Taoiseach Micheál Martin seemed determined to  express as much misery and misfortune as possible  in his speech on Tuesday. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheál Martin seemed determined to express as much misery and misfortune as possible in his speech on Tuesday. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

The Irish have dozens of ways to express misery and misfortune, and Taoiseach Micheál Martin seemed determined to pack as many of them as possible into his speech on Tuesday. We are, he said, “physically and emotionally exhausted”; “under enormous pressure”; “deeply worried”; “all completely fed up”; “hard-pressed”; “frustrated”. He talked about “how hard it is”; “the toll on... mental health and wellbeing”; “the devastation”.

There were more green shoots of gloom in the Government’s Path Ahead plan – references to the “scarring effects” of lockdowns and the “uncertainties and unknowns” ahead. The tone from public health experts was equally dire. HSE chief Paul Reid said cases could yet go back to an “explosive level”. Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn suggested it will be the end of the year before things are “close to normal”. One Government Minister emerging from a National Public Health Emergency Team briefing this week told Irish Times journalist Jennifer Bray, “We are really in the worst of it.”

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