Putting a face to the campaign

Sir, – Fintan O'Toole is right. "The Government has a very well thought through system for managing emergencies – but it is more or less completely ignoring it" ("Baffling Government decision to tear up crisis plan has three bad effects", Opinion & Analysis, April 28th).

According to the Strategic Emergency Management: National Structures and Framework document, the Minister of Health should have taken the key role in co-ordinating the State’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

In reality, as your columnist says: “Power was instead taken over by the Taoiseach’s department”.

However, it’s unsurprising that Leo Varadkar has insisted on being seen to lead Ireland’s campaign against Covid-19.


In an age of personality-driven politics, the international media’s judgment of how different nations are coping with the pandemic is largely seen through the prism of the performance of each country’s leader. For instance, Jacinda Arden/New Zealand equals “good”, and Donald Trump/US equals “bad”.

Indeed, Britain’s press widely accepted that the UK government couldn’t make any big decisions on leaving their lockdown until Boris Johnson was back from illness.

Fintan O’Toole asks for “an honest answer to an honest question” about why the Government didn’t follow its own emergency plan.

For good or ill, the simple truth is that during the coronavirus crisis, Ireland has behaved much like most other modern western top-down democracies. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill, Dublin 7.