'Weak' Government COVID inquiry plans 'not good enough' - Tóibín

"The idea of a mere evaluation of the processes of the Government is not good enough"
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.42 26 Jan 2024

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'Weak' Government COVID inquir...

'Weak' Government COVID inquiry plans 'not good enough' - Tóibín

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.42 26 Jan 2024

Share this article

A full statutory investigation should be held into the decisions the Government made during the pandemic, according to Aontú.

Party leader Peadar Tóibín is criticising the Government's plan to host an "evaluation" of its response to COVID-19, rather than a full inquiry.

During a detailed briefing for political parties yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the evaluation would adopt a ‘no-blame’ approach and would not be ‘UK-style’.


Deputy Tóibín told Newstalk Breakfast the approach will not give accountability.

"I think that the Government's plans are strategically weak," he said.

"The idea of a mere evaluation of the processes of the Government is not good enough.

"I do think that the COVID crisis and the policies that were implemented were unparalleled in Ireland for generations.

"I think the enormity of what happened, especially in the nursing homes, demands a proper [and] serious investigation."

Statutory powers

Deputy Tóibín said a non-statutory investigation means the inquiry will have no real power.

"That means there'll be no power to compel people [to appear] or papers, and that would be a disaster" he said.

"It would significantly blunt the ability of the Government to carry out this investigation.

"Some people will be able to ignore it".

Deputy Tóibín said a so-called 'no blame approach' means there will be "no accountability".

"I think what we need to do is investigate what happened, find out the truth and where accountability is merited, it needs to be apportioned," he said.

Deputy Tóibín said nursing homes should be a particular area to be looked at.

"In the first year of COVID, the NTPF (National Treatment Purchase Fund) sent a letter to all the nursing homes asking them to accept hundreds older people who were in hospitals," he said.

"10,000 people were moved from hospitals into nursing homes in the early days of COVID, many of these people weren't tested.

"I think this was a disastrous decesion".

'Serious outcomes'

Deputy Tóibín said society as a whole was affected by the Government's decisions.

"The decisions around cancer services, mental health services, schools, etc had serious outcomes," he said.

"Cancer diagnosis stopped for many people; treatments stopped for many people.

"As a result, we've had people who have died because of that lack of treatment," he added.

Deputy Tóibín said while some of these issues will be looked at, the inquiry is 'politically self-serving' in the run-up to a number of elections next year.

Listen back here:

Main image: Peadar Toibin arriving at the Mansion House in Dublin, 21-1-19. Image: Leah Farrell/

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