Four days ago Ciara Phelan broke an interview with An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, in which he said that we would more than likely be under significant restrictions until the end of April. Basically, there would be another nine weeks of Level 5 lockdown in Ireland. If you are reading this and are not familiar with the restrictions in Ireland, we cannot travel outside of 5 km from our homes unless on essential business, such as shopping or work.
Since Phelan aired part of the interview and the paper she writes for, the Irish Daily Mirror, aired the full interview, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Martin himself have refuted that he said anything of the sort. This is despite there being actual video evidence of him saying that until the end of April is when we’ll see significant restrictions. This sparked many people interpreting Martin’s own words and defending him, or rather, attacking Phelan, the Mirror and anybody who dared point out what he said in the interview.
People were scared and anxious over the last few days. Politicians denied quotes attributed to them and undercut each other with different bits of news and positive spin. Schools were opening and closing according to different Ministers from different parties but in the same ruling Government.
Last night these fears were put to bed, or rather finally addressed, in Micheál Martin’s address to the nation, in which he told us that restrictions will continue until at least April 5th, when the government will consider easing some guidelines.
TD’s (Teachta Dála’s, Irish members of government) received a 2% pay increase to bring their salaries back over 100’000 euro per year since that interview broke. Some TDs returned this pay raise, but it is all becoming a little hollow for me. If 2% brings your pay over the 100k mark then your refusal doesn’t make much of a difference, does it?
I am not denying the difficulty of the jobs of our politicians. Micheál Martin has an incredibly tough job on his hands. As leader of the coalition he must deal with inter and intra party fighting and politics. He must deal with Leo Varadkar announcing all the good news early in the week, leaving all the bad news for the leader. He must deal with Ministers Donnelly and Foley struggle with their jobs and leave his government open for criticism. He must deal with multi-national pharma companies like Astra-Zeneca under deliver on their vaccine promises, leaving our own vaccination numbers low. He must deal with all of this and much more, every day, until the next election.
However, difficulties aside, the way this government has treated the public is devastating. We are but an after thought to their in-fighting. The way in which Martin and Varadkar both denied exactly what the former said in his interview with The Mirror finally made that sink in for me. They leak information and let us stew in anger and worry about the impending new restrictions. They speak from their pulpit about being in this together with us, but as I saw on Twitter the other day, we might be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.
They will continue to leave us sink into anxiety and depression with each passing piece of leaked info, and there is nothing we can do about it. Our canoes are no match for their yachts. Those of us drowning can’t see much change on the horizon.
As always, I am here to help and listen if anyone needs! I haven’t totally given up on the blog, I’ve just been busy and going through some things. So reach out, stay safe and wear your mask.