Government COVID-19 communication strategy has descended into spin, obfuscation and leaks
Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly believes that the continued spin, obfuscation and leaking of information regarding restrictions is damaging to the public and businesses.
Speaking this afternoon, Dublin Fingal TD O’Reilly said: “The general public - and businesses in particular - have been calling out for clarity and detail for what the restrictions will look like over the next number of weeks.
“The public are happy to do their part in the fight against COVID-19 and, with the exception of a tiny minority, they have faced the lockdown steadfastly and have done everything that has been asked of them.
“Businesses in particular have taken a huge hit and been extremely affected with the impact of the virus and the lockdown measures leaving them counting the significant costs of the situation.
“People understand the difficulties in fighting this virus and the need for the public health response to ensure that the safety of the public, particularly our most vulnerable, is protected above all.
“All they have asked for in return is clarity, honesty, and transparency. But in the past number of weeks that has been sorely missing as the government has reverted to spin, obfuscation and leaks.
“Yet again today we had more leaks and kite-flying from the government as the media reports on 'draft proposals' from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) about when the restrictions will be lifted and what sectors of business can return to operation.
“The situation at the minute is worrying for businesses. But that worry has been compounded by the leaking of information, which is upsetting, frustrating and leads to false hope.
“Leaking information like this is not the relaying of trivial political gossip - this is very serious information, which affects people’s lives.
“It is really difficult to put into words how frustrating the handling of communication around COVID-19 has been for TDs, the general public and businesses where leaking important information is once again the order of the day instead of transparent communication.”