A ‘reasonable’ Christmas


Sir, – As we all struggle to modify our personal behaviour to suppress the second wave, I am struck by how well the Irish public have collectively knuckled down to the job for a second time, how cheerfully we comply, and with such encouraging results.

Compare that to the rancourous resistance in many jurisdictions to the wearing of masks in public places as an attack on personal freedom.

The same cannot be said of a Government that has consistently framed the problem as one of personal behaviour to deflect attention from its ineptitude in both policy and administration.

The latest manifestation of that message is that we will be allowed a “reasonable” Christmas if we are all good boys and girls.

If the Government fails to up its game now, particularly regarding testing and tracing and actively chasing down the virus with all the resources it can muster, then January and February will be the beginning of a third wave.

The good boys and girls are expecting more than a “reasonable” Easter. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Having a government jet at his disposal, the Tánaiste has perhaps forgotten how well in advance Christmas flights into Ireland must be booked.

Months into this pandemic, why has this Government still no adequate testing regime in place at Dublin Airport?

What am I missing?

I already know I will be missing. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – I have had a lifetime of “coming home for Christmas” experiences. They started when I was a young child living in New York, and every second year we flew home. The anticipation was wonderful; the reality was freezing cold nights on a Tipperary farm, broken-down cars and colds and flu.

Moving on to my early married years living abroad in Germany, we came home with our three small children at Christmas. Again the anticipation was wonderful; the reality was overcrowded bedrooms, broken-down cars, and colds and flu.

Moving on to when my own children returned home to us in our Tipperary home for Christmas, you guessed it, the anticipation was wonderful; the reality was cold, flu, overcrowded bedrooms and glue eyes!

Coming home for Christmas is a hugely emotive thing. The reality, including our climate and vulnerability to cold and flu at that time of year, is something quite different.

Maybe this year, taking you know what into account, you should postpone your trip home until the summer! – Yours, etc,




A chara, – Not even a decade ago, under policies put in place by the current parties of Government, school-leavers and graduates were encouraged to leave Ireland in search of jobs.

Now as a consequence of the continuing failure to build a functioning health service and the lack of provision for testing arrivals into the country, those same people are being told not to even visit for Christmas.

It’s odd how Irish people returning home are considered a bigger risk than tourists were in spring.

Ireland truly is becoming no country for young people. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – As a former expat, I know how much returning from abroad meant to my family at Christmas, and I always had a heavy heart when it was time to leave again.

I’ve no doubt there are countless families around the country who have been adhering to restrictions all year round on the premise of seeing their loved ones home for Christmas, which would make the sacrifices worthwhile.

For the Tánaiste and chief medical officer to advise against booking flights home for Christmas, and to label it non-essential travel, is a massive blow to all those families.

Some people will travel home regardless of the advice, but others will be dissuaded by the comments.

If the Government were to approve the use of affordable and rapid antigen tests, instead of the prohibitively expensive PCR tests, for travellers, I’m sure compliance from inbound travellers would increase, and the risk of imported cases would be reduced.

This type of testing has been in use in other EU countries for months now, and to the best of my knowledge, their governments have not publicly condemned Christmas travel. –Yours, etc,



Sir, – I am an Irish citizen living abroad. In response to Leo Varadkar’s outrageous comments, I, alongside my brothers and sisters in the diaspora, would like to would like to tell the Tánaiste (and the chief medical officer, for that matter) to feck right off.

We should of course obey the legal restrictions when we return home, but we are welcome home as citizens of Ireland, whether they like it or not. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – It is devastating for many people to feel that family members will not be with them this Christmas due to Covid-19 restrictions.

However, we have to avoid feeling that this is a Government vendetta against the public.

The Government is acting on the best medical advice, while also being aware of the damage to the economy.

We are all affected in some way by this virus, and we have to accept that whatever decision is reached, it is done for the common good. – Yours, etc,




Co Dublin.