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Stephen Donnelly

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  • 18-04-2021 5:47pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭


    I'm trying to understand the current outrage over Stephen Donnelly's comments about looking into having 18-24 year olds vaccinated ahead of other age groups.

    Was the controversial statement made in an interview with the Irish Times, or where did it first appear? I'm trying to find out the context in which he made the statement.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,136 ✭✭✭✭is_that_so


    roosh wrote: »
    I'm trying to understand the current outrage over Stephen Donnelly's comments about looking into having 18-24 year olds vaccinated ahead of other age groups.

    Was the controversial statement made in an interview with the Irish Times, or where did it first appear? I'm trying to find out the context in which he made the statement.
    It was in the original vaccine plan as a possible approach, depending on our circumstances. All he really did was ask whether it might now be an option. It's very unlikely to be considered but we still had a full-blown storm over it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    is_that_so wrote: »
    It was in the original vaccine plan as a possible approach, depending on our circumstances. All he really did was ask whether it might now be an option. It's very unlikely to be considered but we still had a full-blown storm over it.
    Thank you, that's what I was thinking but with the reaction I was thinking there must have been something I missed.

    EDIT: Was it in an Irish Times interview he said it? I'm just wondering what the context was. Was he just answering a question or why did he even say it?


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,500 Mod ✭✭✭✭johnnyskeleton


    It was raised by NPHET back in December:

    https://assets.gov.ie/108854/babc7d1b-cb10-49db-8dd0-0c7408dea162.pdf

    In the context of the penultimate stage i.e. all adults 18-54 who aren't already vaccinated
    If evidence demonstrates the vaccine(s) prevent transmission, those aged 18-34 should be prioritised due to their increased level of social contact and role in transmission.

    So there is a logic to it. Also, his statement is:

    https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/under-30s-may-receive-vaccine-before-those-aged-30-50-1113032.html
    “I’ve asked the department to assess the case for vaccinating younger cohorts earlier, on the basis of reducing overall transmission as quickly as possible,” Mr Donnelly told The Irish Times.

    The Irish Times is behind a paywall. He is only asking them to assess it, and is doing so based (presumably) on the earlier NPHET advice that if there was evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission, then this age cohort should be prioritised to prevent the spread.

    At the end of the day, if the best advice available is that vaccinating this group of people as a priority will reduce the spread of covid, I think we should do this. I'm (sadly) no longer in that group but even though it will push me back further in the queue, I would strongly support it if that is the best public health advice available.

    The controversy stems from the fact that a lot of people are looking at the vaccine as though it was something to be given as a reward for those worthy or something to be distributed based solely on factors relating to individual risk. But public health seems to be much more complicated than that, and the theory makes sense insofar as if the vaccine is 90% effective, that means 10% of the most vulnerable i.e. elderly and immunocompromised will think they are immune but they are not. So once we have vaccinated the most vulnerable, we should then look at reducing the spread of covid, at the very least in tandem with simultaneously vaccinating people by age downwards.

    I would also be in favour of those who have to deal with the public such as Gardai, supermarket employees and bus drivers, for example, to get priority because their vaccination would also help reduce the spread of the disease.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    It was raised by NPHET back in December:

    https://assets.gov.ie/108854/babc7d1b-cb10-49db-8dd0-0c7408dea162.pdf

    In the context of the penultimate stage i.e. all adults 18-54 who aren't already vaccinated



    So there is a logic to it. Also, his statement is:

    https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/under-30s-may-receive-vaccine-before-those-aged-30-50-1113032.html



    The Irish Times is behind a paywall. He is only asking them to assess it, and is doing so based (presumably) on the earlier NPHET advice that if there was evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission, then this age cohort should be prioritised to prevent the spread.

    Thanks Johnny. As I'm reading about it, I'm arriving at the same conclusion. It seems like it's being blown out of all proportion altogether.

    I followed the link in this Irish Times tweet:
    https://twitter.com/IrishTimes/status/1383220172278820871?s=19

    And I was able to read it:
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/under-30s-may-get-vaccinated-early-under-new-plan-being-considered-to-slow-covid-19-1.4539770?mode=amp

    Assuming that is the right article.


    Gavin Reilly is saying that he would've had the answer from the CMO before doing the Irish Times interview, but it seems like the "answer" is that the "[transmission data] isn't there". To me that reads like it's still an open question.

    I'd like to see the transcript of the interview with the Irish Times to see what question he was actually asked.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    It was raised by NPHET back in December:

    https://assets.gov.ie/108854/babc7d1b-cb10-49db-8dd0-0c7408dea162.pdf

    In the context of the penultimate stage i.e. all adults 18-54 who aren't already vaccinated
    Thanks for the reference btw. You don't happen to know off the top of your head what page the original possiblity is raised?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 85,995 ✭✭✭✭JP Liz V1


    SD is out of his depth, no idea how to run the health department


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,500 Mod ✭✭✭✭johnnyskeleton


    roosh wrote: »
    Gavin Reilly is saying that he would've had the answer from the CMO before doing the Irish Times interview, but it seems like the "answer" is that the "[transmission data] isn't there". To me that reads like it's still an open question.

    I think so yeah. The best information seems to be that it makes sense that if the vaccine reduces viral load and symptoms, that it would logically reduce the spread, but equally it cannot be said with any certainty that if you've been vaccinated that you cannot transmit it. The variants also pose a further problem.
    roosh wrote: »
    Thanks for the reference btw. You don't happen to know off the top of your head what page the original possiblity is raised?

    Page 29 has all the various groups etc. It is the right hand panel after the 18-54 category.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,560 ✭✭✭Prenderb


    JP Liz V1 wrote: »
    SD is out of his depth, no idea how to run the health department

    Because he might be keeping an open mind on alterations to a plan as new information comes to light?


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,579 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    It was raised by NPHET back in December:

    https://assets.gov.ie/108854/babc7d1b-cb10-49db-8dd0-0c7408dea162.pdf

    In the context of the penultimate stage i.e. all adults 18-54 who aren't already vaccinated



    So there is a logic to it. Also, his statement is:

    https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/under-30s-may-receive-vaccine-before-those-aged-30-50-1113032.html



    The Irish Times is behind a paywall. He is only asking them to assess it, and is doing so based (presumably) on the earlier NPHET advice that if there was evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission, then this age cohort should be prioritised to prevent the spread.

    At the end of the day, if the best advice available is that vaccinating this group of people as a priority will reduce the spread of covid, I think we should do this. I'm (sadly) no longer in that group but even though it will push me back further in the queue, I would strongly support it if that is the best public health advice available.

    The controversy stems from the fact that a lot of people are looking at the vaccine as though it was something to be given as a reward for those worthy or something to be distributed based solely on factors relating to individual risk. But public health seems to be much more complicated than that, and the theory makes sense insofar as if the vaccine is 90% effective, that means 10% of the most vulnerable i.e. elderly and immunocompromised will think they are immune but they are not. So once we have vaccinated the most vulnerable, we should then look at reducing the spread of covid, at the very least in tandem with simultaneously vaccinating people by age downwards.

    I would also be in favour of those who have to deal with the public such as Gardai, supermarket employees and bus drivers, for example, to get priority because their vaccination would also help reduce the spread of the disease.

    Denmark is vaccinating those over 50 first, then in a pincer movement, it is vaccinating 18-year olds and 49-year olds, with those in their mid-30s being last as a result. Combines the two priorities


  • Registered Users Posts: 31,059 ✭✭✭✭Lumen


    The broader context is a public frustrated by over three months of winter lockdown and lack of vaccines.

    When you have limited vaccine supply it makes sense to put a lot of effort into finding the highest risk patients, but that's hard to do when the data is spread across GPs and hospitals with no central pool of data. Some GPs are paper based.

    The oldest patients have the lowest mobility, and transporting them to a MVC is difficult and risky. COVID bus anyone?

    The Pfizer vaccine is difficult to transport.

    The AZ vaccine is easy to transport but supply was all over the place and then was pulled for certain age groups.

    FG and even his own colleagues are constantly leaking and counter briefing.

    So there's all that. Plus he's given some absolutely hopeless interviews.

    I suspect that there's a number of politicians who resent how easily he's been promoted without the years of political drudgery and boot licking they had to go through and are delighted that he's getting a kicking.

    And as the saying goes, no-one likes a smartarse.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 810 ✭✭✭cuculainn


    Prenderb wrote: »
    Because he might be keeping an open mind on alterations to a plan as new information comes to light?

    No, because everything before and after his statement has indicated that he is out of his depth......

    If this statement had come from someone who people had trust in there would have been no controversy.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    Page 29 has all the various groups etc. It is the right hand panel after the 18-54 category.
    cheers


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    JP Liz V1 wrote: »
    SD is out of his depth, no idea how to run the health department
    Who were the other possible candidates for minister for Health?

    What specifically would you say that he has gotten wrong?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    blanch152 wrote: »
    Denmark is vaccinating those over 50 first, then in a pincer movement, it is vaccinating 18-year olds and 49-year olds, with those in their mid-30s being last as a result. Combines the two priorities
    Do you have a source for this that I could check out? Cheers Blanch


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    cuculainn wrote: »
    No, because everything before and after his statement has indicated that he is out of his depth......

    If this statement had come from someone who people had trust in there would have been no controversy.....

    What would you say those things before and after are that indicate he is out of his depth?


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,511 ✭✭✭✭L1011


    roosh wrote: »
    Who were the other possible candidates for minister for Health?

    1: Retain Harris, who at least didn't babble as oddly and seemed to be able to keep consistent ideas
    2: Give it to the Greens - Smyth was their rep for it at the time - not sure this would be better.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus


    roosh wrote: »
    Who were the other possible candidates for minister for Health?

    What specifically would you say that he has gotten wrong?
    He doesn't really understand the job he's doing. For him it's another jostle for position, not a role with public responsibilities.

    Even if we assume that his query about vaccinating the younger cohorts was made in good faith, it shows a severe failure to understand the position of other bodies within Health and a severe failure to read the public mood and understand his role a public servant.

    The vaccine cohorts had been re-jigged two weeks previously based on NIAC advice. There was a lot of noise publically about it, quite a bit of frustration, but it had settled down. Rather than read the room, he decided to reignite that frustration, by second-guessing NIAC and asking if their plan really was the best one. That's insanely poor management.

    But it's not just about that. It's about a pattern of incorrect figures and statements being made in interviews, about an arrogant dismissal of any questions he doesn't like, about a history where he spent years as the "health spokesperson" for FF, accusing previous ministers for health of making wrong decisions at every turn. And when he gets in their himself, he's out of his depth.

    Dept. of Health staff also have no respect for him, he's known as an arrogant bully in the dept who pays no regard to the health guidelines. When he turned up to that public briefing looking sick, Ronan Glynn himself had to force him to accept a referral for a test, and instead of going straight home as you're supposed to, he went to the canteen and made a phone call, surrounded by horrified staff.

    Other candidates? Harris would have been the optimal choice. Continuity through a pandemic. A proven steady hand. Second choice would have been Varadkar. Someone with actual medical qualifications, who had gained the public trust in the first months of the pandemic. Assigning the MoH position to the Tánaiste would have also signalled just how important the position is in the current context.


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,136 ✭✭✭✭is_that_so


    roosh wrote: »
    Who were the other possible candidates for minister for Health?

    What specifically would you say that he has gotten wrong?
    FF and Donnelly both wanted it, it'll revert to FG in Government Part Deux. Generally you don't find candidates for Angola as it has been called! We've had few good MoHs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    L1011 wrote: »
    1: Retain Harris, who at least didn't babble as oddly and seemed to be able to keep consistent ideas
    2: Give it to the Greens - Smyth was their rep for it at the time - not sure this would be better.
    Was the last general election not called to avoid a vote of no confidence in Harris?

    I'm not familiar with Smyth's credentials. Is there something about his qualifications that makes you think he would have been a better MfH?


    What specifically do you think Donnelly has done wrong?


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    roosh wrote: »
    Was the last general election not called to avoid a vote of no confidence in Harris?

    I'm not familiar with Smyth's credentials. Is there something about his qualifications that makes you think he would have been a better MfH?


    What specifically do you think Donnelly has done wrong?

    as out of his depth as Donnelly may be, Harris has to be the most useless, yet protected, minister of all time.

    He must own a pretty impressive set of negatives to have made it this far in his career.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 389 ✭✭tommybrees


    Voted in at the 14th count. His own constitutants didn't even want him. Under current legislation he's been given the most power anybody has ever had in this country ever.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,426 ✭✭✭✭Zeek12


    While some of Donnelly's interviews have not always inspired confidence, I don't see any issue here.

    The minister sought clarification on whether prioritizing vaccination of younger cohorts early would be worth pursuing.
    And got the answer he sought - and has confirmed I believe that nothing has changed and vaccination will proceed with over 40s/50s to be vaccinated ahead of the 18-30 yr olds.

    Like a lot of what we hear and read during the pandemic, this seems like a storm in a teacup largely of the media's making imo.

    Almost 14 months of non stop Covid coverage, the media have run out of things to talk about, and struggle with a lack of "sensationalist" news items. They will try and generate a storm wherever they can.

    The general public are fatigued not only by living with Covid and restrictions - but by listening to our media outlets talking about it all the time!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    seamus wrote: »
    He doesn't really understand the job he's doing. For him it's another jostle for position, not a role with public responsibilities.

    Even if we assume that his query about vaccinating the younger cohorts was made in good faith, it shows a severe failure to understand the position of other bodies within Health and a severe failure to read the public mood and understand his role a public servant.

    The vaccine cohorts had been re-jigged two weeks previously based on NIAC advice. There was a lot of noise publically about it, quite a bit of frustration, but it had settled down. Rather than read the room, he decided to reignite that frustration, by second-guessing NIAC and asking if their plan really was the best one. That's insanely poor management.
    Have you seen a transcript of the interview to know what question he was asked? I would be interested to see that myself bcos I don't think he contacted the Irish Times and said, "here's a quote for ya!".

    Also, the idea of vaccinating the 18-34 year olds is directly from [p.29 of] the National Vaccination Programme Strategy published in December.
    https://assets.gov.ie/108854/babc7d1b-cb10-49db-8dd0-0c7408dea162.pdf



    seamus wrote: »
    But it's not just about that. It's about a pattern of incorrect figures and statements being made in interviews, about an arrogant dismissal of any questions he doesn't like, about a history where he spent years as the "health spokesperson" for FF, accusing previous ministers for health of making wrong decisions at every turn. And when he gets in their himself, he's out of his depth.
    What pattern of incorrect figures? He's often pressed for exact figures in interviews and he has been very reluctant to give them. He's been proven correct on that basis with all the issues surrounding deliveries. If he gives an exact figure, then people will only turn around and say that he promised one thing and didn't deliver.

    Have you got any examples of his arrogant dismissal of questions he doesn't like? I don't watch all his interviews but any time I have he answers questions pretty forthrightly, in a measured and cogent manner. What he doesn't do is accept the interviewers framing, when they are angling for a clickbait headline.

    I've never seen him accuse anyone of making wrong decisions, I've only ever seen him present clear, cogent, and probing questions and ask for a response.

    Can you point to any specific things you think Donnelly has gotten wrong?


    seamus wrote: »
    Dept. of Health staff also have no respect for him, he's known as an arrogant bully in the dept who pays no regard to the health guidelines. When he turned up to that public briefing looking sick, Ronan Glynn himself had to force him to accept a referral for a test, and instead of going straight home as you're supposed to, he went to the canteen and made a phone call, surrounded by horrified staff.
    Have you got a reference for that story? I'm not suggesting it isn't true I just want check it out for myself.

    Bear in mind, going into a department and making changes is not going to win you any friends, people are going to resist and blame you.

    seamus wrote: »
    Other candidates? Harris would have been the optimal choice. Continuity through a pandemic. A proven steady hand. Second choice would have been Varadkar. Someone with actual medical qualifications, who had gained the public trust in the first months of the pandemic. Assigning the MoH position to the Tánaiste would have also signalled just how important the position is in the current context.
    The last election was called to avoid a vote of no confidence in Harris, was it not?

    You should be pointing the finger at Varadkar, Martin, and Ryan for not making Varadkar MoH then.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    tommybrees wrote: »
    Voted in at the 14th count. His own constitutants didn't even want him. Under current legislation he's been given the most power anybody has ever had in this country ever.
    Simon Harris was elected on the same count, wasn't he? Varadkar on the 5th, and Martin on the 6th, is that correct?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    Zeek12 wrote: »
    While some of Donnelly's interviews have not always inspired confidence, I don't see any issue here.

    The minister sought clarification on whether prioritizing vaccination of younger cohorts early would be worth pursuing.
    And got the answer he sought - and has confirmed I believe that nothing has changed and vaccination will proceed with over 40s/50s to be vaccinated ahead of the 18-30 yr olds.

    Like a lot of what we hear and read during the pandemic, this seems like a storm in a teacup largely of the media's making imo.

    Almost 14 months of non stop Covid coverage, the media have run out of things to talk about, and struggle with a lack of "sensationalist" news items. They will try and generate a storm wherever they can.

    The general public are fatigued not only by living with Covid and restrictions - but by listening to our media outlets talking about it all the time!

    Nail on the head.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,700 ✭✭✭StupidLikeAFox


    tommybrees wrote: »
    Voted in at the 14th count. His own constitutants didn't even want him. Under current legislation he's been given the most power anybody has ever had in this country ever.

    Your first two sentences appear to contradict each other


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,259 ✭✭✭forumdedum


    Look at me. Here I am today in my lovely overcoat telling you all that I have done and will do.

    Oh for the days we have someone in politics that honestly just gets on with it and doesn't have to make a song and dance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,511 ✭✭✭✭L1011


    What count you're elected on is utterly irrelevant.

    Nobody ever made an issue of it before SF forgot to run enough candidates and they will desperately regret doing so when SF do run enough and get people elected on later counts next time out.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 15,390 Mod ✭✭✭✭Quin_Dub


    Zeek12 wrote: »
    While some of Donnelly's interviews have not always inspired confidence, I don't see any issue here.

    The minister sought clarification on whether prioritizing vaccination of younger cohorts early would be worth pursuing.
    And got the answer he sought - and has confirmed I believe that nothing has changed and vaccination will proceed with over 40s/50s to be vaccinated ahead of the 18-30 yr olds.


    Like a lot of what we hear and read during the pandemic, this seems like a storm in a teacup largely of the media's making imo.

    Almost 14 months of non stop Covid coverage, the media have run out of things to talk about, and struggle with a lack of "sensationalist" news items. They will try and generate a storm wherever they can.

    The general public are fatigued not only by living with Covid and restrictions - but by listening to our media outlets talking about it all the time!

    The issue is that he sought that "clarity" in public via the media.

    No issue with him working with the experts to fine-tune things and work for the best outcomes , that is absolutely the right thing to be doing.

    But nothing should be brought up in the media until it's an actual decision.

    I agree that the media are looking for the story , but Donnelly needs to understand that sometimes he just needs to say nothing.

    Public kite flying is grand in opposition , but right now it is absolutely the worst possible thing to be doing.

    A major part of the issues with the Governments actions in recent months has been their utterly shambolic communications strategy.

    The story is changing hour to hour almost.

    Pick a story , make sure everyone gets the info and stay consistent - That's politics 101 and they have failed miserably at that since MM took over.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭roosh


    Quin_Dub wrote: »
    The issue is that he sought that "clarity" in public via the media.

    No issue with him working with the experts to fine-tune things and work for the best outcomes , that is absolutely the right thing to be doing.

    But nothing should be brought up in the media until it's an actual decision.

    I agree that the media are looking for the story , but Donnelly needs to understand that sometimes he just needs to say nothing.

    Public kite flying is grand in opposition , but right now it is absolutely the worst possible thing to be doing.

    A major part of the issues with the Governments actions in recent months has been their utterly shambolic communications strategy.

    The story is changing hour to hour almost.

    Pick a story , make sure everyone gets the info and stay consistent - That's politics 101 and they have failed miserably at that since MM took over.
    How was it kite flying? The idea was proposed back in December in the National Vaccination Strategy document.

    Have you seen a transcript of the interview to see what question he was asked to give that response?

    How has the story changed hour to hour?


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