'I didn't have a choice' - Doctor who resigned from HSE role after criticising COVID restrictions


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.41 7 Oct 2020


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A doctor who has been publicly critical of Ireland's coronavirus approach says he resigned from his senior HSE role as he 'didn't have a choice'.

Dr Martin Feeley resigned as clinical director of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group last month, only days after describing coronavirus restrictions as "draconian" and no longer justified.

The HSE had distanced itself from the remarks before the doctor's remarks before his resignation.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Dr Feeley said he began seeing the cost of the COVID-19 restrictions when the initial crisis began to ease in April and May.

'I didn't have a choice' - Doctor who resigned from HSE role after criticising COVID restrictions

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He said: "I saw the cost - not just the financial cost to the Exchequer, put the huge cost to the people of Ireland who were losing their jobs and young people whose lives were seriously impaired.

"I started looking at the risk-benefit of the whole exercise, and to me it didn't weigh up at all. Therefore I considered the measures draconian."

Dr Feeley suggested it's very hard for medical professionals to come out and say what he said.

He observed: "There is a risk if you adopt a different strategy things could possible get worse - and I don't think any of us want that."

Criticising NPHET, he claimed public health officials have focused on COVID-19 at the expense of considering the impact of other diseases.

He also argued: "Health is the presence of complete, physical and mental well-being... not just the absence of physical disease or frailty."

However, Dr Feeley stressed that at-risk people still need to be 'extraordinarily cautious' of coronavirus.

He has backed the proposals put forward by some international experts, where officials would focus on protecting older and frail people.

He said: "What I've been proposing... that we protect as much as we can the vulnerable and at risk, and allow the people who are not at risk to live their lives.

"I think that's possible."

Main image: File photo of Dr Martin Feeley. Picture via HSE

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