Tony O’Brien: High levels of Covid are a policy failure, but refusing to act is a leadership failure

The reintroduction of a partial mask mandate seems a simple and proportionate response to the situation we are now in

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly reportedly told his party colleagues last week that the level of Covid infection was now so out of control that the scale of measures required to tackle it would be too significant, so it was simply not possible to do anything. Picture: PA

A significant and worrying divergence between the tone of comments from the HSE and from the government, most notably Stephen Donnelly, the Minister for Health, emerged last week. This is the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that there has been such a marked contrast in emphasis.

We have heard increasingly concerned HSE voices, including that of its chief executive Paul Reid and members of the Emergency Department Task Force, speaking about the ...