THERE IS palpable public fury over the Taoiseach's decision to announce nine more weeks of national lockdown in an exclusive interview with a tabloid newspaper.
At 10pm last night, The Irish Mirror released an exclusive interview with the Taoiseach where he confirmed that Ireland would remain under Level 5 lockdown until at least the end of April.
With Ireland having been under Level 5 since the end of December, this would indicate that people are facing five straight months of the strictest Covid-19 measures, with household visits banned, non-essential shops closed and people told to remain within 5km of their homes.
The news itself is extremely hard to bear for a nation which has been under restrictions for so long, but it is the manner in which the news was announced that has drawn fury from politicians and the public.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald took to Twitter where she said that the Taoiseach's "casual, flippant announcement of a further nine weeks of lockdown has caused anger and distress.
"People's lives have been turned upside down. [Government] internal rvalry, leaks and dithering adds stress upon stress."
Taoiseach's casual, flippant announcement of a further nine weeks of lockdown has caused anger and distress. People's lives have been turned upside down. Govt internal rivalry, leaks and dithering adds stress upon stress. #COVID19 #COVID #level5
— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) February 19, 2021
The anger and disappointment people felt with the way the life-altering announcement was made was clear in the language people used to convey their feelings, with one woman asking "how the F***" Mr Martin thought this was appropriate.
Another said the nine-week news "dropped casually by informal sources just goes to show how the government doesn't give a f*** about people's mental health in this country, they drop things like that with absolutely no sensitivity."
TD and Labour leader Alan Kelly agreed that "the constant drip feeding of information about [Level 5] is not helping those who are struggling at the moment.
"It's no way to communicate," he added, urging those in power to "have a bit of cop on".
The constant drip feeding of information about #level5 is not helping those who are struggling at the moment. It’s no way to communicate, it’s time for @MichealMartinTD & @LeoVaradkar & whole of Government to have a bit of cop on.
— Alan Kelly TD (@alankellylabour) February 19, 2021
One fed-up woman asked "Remember when our Taoiseach used to show us the courtesy of an official televised speech to announced lockdown and other major Covid updates?"
While one man wrote "An exclusive for the Daily Mirror released at 10pm at night?
"No public address, increased speculation, anxiety and worry for a nation who for the majority are already at breaking point. Leadership? F***ing embarrassing is being too kind."
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall agreed that the major news "needed formal [Government] announcement.
"Govt communications is atrocious and now comes mainly be way of leak from FF/FG parliamentary party.
"Not good enough, especially in a crisis."
No reflection on @ciaraphelan_ who got info from the Taoiseach about another 9 wks of lockdown but this needed formal Govt announcement. Govt communications is atrocious and now comes mainly by way of leak from FF/FG parliamentary party. Not good enough, especially in a crisis. https://t.co/btyFeptsgN
— Róisín Shortall (@RoisinShortall) February 19, 2021
One man, pointing out that the country was facing six straight months in lockdown apart from two weeks easing of restrictions at Christmas, said:
"The Government's 'Living with Covid' strategy' isn't just a failure, it's a catastrophic failure."