Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has responded to the frustration and anger some people have voiced over comments he made during a press briefing.
During last night’s NPHET briefing, Dr Glynn said officials are asking people to “do a little bit more than you’ve been doing over the past week or two” to suppress COVID-19.
He said: "If every individual can do just that little bit more over the next few weeks we will stop another wave.”
Video clips of the remarks have been widely shared on social media, with many people saying they’ve already been being doing their best for a very long time.
Dr Glynn this evening said he “absolutely apologises” to anyone who feels frustrated or angered after seeing the video clip.
He encouraged people to look at the whole press conference, as officials yesterday also expressed their gratitude to the millions of people who have been following the guidelines.
The deputy CMO said he has 'no doubt' officials can improve their messaging as they're not media professionals, but they have to remind people to keep their guard up as much as possible.
I asked Dr Ronan Glynn about the *large* amount of criticism of NPHET's messaging.
"Our job is to remind people to keep their guard so they can protect themselves and their families.
"I know people don't want to hear it, I know they're tired of it. We do need to freshen it up."
— Paul O'Donoghue (@paulodonoghue93) March 19, 2021
On The Hard Shoulder, author Sheila O’Flanagan said she believes most people already are doing their best.
She said: “When I heard Ronan Glynn last night - and I have a lot of respect for him as a medical professional - I just felt thrown into the depths of despair. I thought ‘what more can I do?’
“What I was trying to figure out was what are we trying to achieve now? What’s our actual goal?
“As far as I can see, we’re kind of level five until we have zero cases. And we need the vaccine for that, and our vaccine target and rollout isn’t the best.”
Ms O'Flanagan said she totally appreciates that Dr Glynn is attempting to stop worse things from happening during the pandemic.
However, she observed: “I have a house in Spain… obviously I haven’t been over there, but I read the papers from over.
"Their reporting on stuff is much more positive than ours… they don’t seem to be lecturing their citizens quite as much. I feel we’re being lectured all the time.”
However, she particularly criticised politicians for logistical and admin issues that have arisen during the pandemic, saying they’re ‘not used to working at speed’.
She also believes there should be a vaccine minister appointed to handle the rollout.
Meanwhile, David Hall - owner of Lifeline Ambulances - believes the frustration being expressed today isn’t about Ronan Glynn.
He argued: “It’s the first time in the history of the State - other than going to see the Pope in the Phoenix Park - where someone would get up at 4am, to go and get a vaccine. People are willing to do it, and we can’t execute that.
“The most important political decision to ever be made in the history of the State has happened over the last six months, or should have happened.
"This is where it has fallen flat - today’s frustration is all a collective combination of that, and nothing to do with Ronan Glynn.”