ANY DOUBTS over tension between the Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) were quickly allayed after text messages between the Minister for Health and Ireland's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) were revealed.
A number of messages were reportedly sent between CMO Dr Tony Holohan and Minister Stephen Donnelly which demonstrate the increasingly strained relationship between the two bodies.
One such exchange - revealed via a Freedom of Information request - particularly caught the eye.
On October 12, according to the Sunday Independent, Dr Holohan explained to Mr Donnelly that case numbers around the country were increasing, and urged him to tell the public to be careful.
But Donnelly appeared to completely ignore this advice, and continued telling journalists that the outlook was "positive" and that transmission of the virus was slowing.
Holohan then sent a follow up message, telling Donnelly that Dublin's R number had increased, and the response he received rather sums up their tense relationship.
Flippantly, Donnelly simply sent back a 'thumbs-up emoji' ... which is an interesting way for a Health Minister to respond to being informed of a growing health crisis, to say the very least.
— Ellen Coyne (@ellenmcoyne) January 31, 2021
Another instance shows that Donnelly failed to respond to one of Dr Holohan's texts - an update on Ireland's spiralling Covid-19 situation - for 11 days.
As anyone who understands messaging apps, to be left on 'read' for that long is ... well ... brutal. Somebody fetch Dr Holohan some ice cream and a blanket.
The revelation was, of course, picked up by social media, and Mr Donnelly's online presence has been relentlessly bombarded with 'thumbs-up emojis' ever since.
It's the meme we never knew we needed. Here are some fabulous ones:
Tony Holohan: Minister the R rate is up again
Stephen Donnelly: pic.twitter.com/7Fhr7VUSKY
— Michael Fry (@BigDirtyFry) January 31, 2021
Our Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly when the Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan texted him advising him of the worrying rising R number in Dublin in October: pic.twitter.com/IWJmwTtO9R
— Aoife🇵🇸 (@aoifedevirgo) January 31, 2021
On the one hand, the lesson here could be that people should just be nicer to others over text, but on the other hand, if someone was texting me every couple of days for nine months offering me nothing but doom-and-gloom, I probably wouldn't be in the best of moods either.