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Questionable Hotel Quarantine in Ireland – The mess gets worse!

The Irish government getting into this deeper and deeper and the mess is getting worse and worse. The 12-day Hotel Quarantine from Level 2 countries (Countries with high-risk status because of Covid infections) is allegedly to protect Ireland from travellers who are carrying the virus into Ireland.

Oddly it was decided that no testing is enough, people from 33 countries have to quarantine even if they had negative PCR tests from before they left and from after arriving in Ireland. The 33 countries are a weird collection of mainly poorer countries with only one single European country among them. Austria seemed to get little love from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, because they found themselves on this strange list.

But it is getting worse and worse. On Thursday 01 April (allegedly not April Fool’s joke!) another 26 countries were added to the list. The countries are
Albania, Andorra, Aruba, Bahrain, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Ethiopia, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Serbia, Somalia and Wallis and Futuna Islands.

Isn’t that a strange list again? Bonaire? Sint Eustatius and Saba (I don’t even have a clue where that is!) or Wallis and Futuna Islands??

For a moment, let’s assume that they are super dangerous Covid countries. A silly idea, but let’s assume:
I am not sure if you have learned the arrivals information of Dublin airport off by heart, but I BET that you will have never seen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba or Wallis and Futuna Islands on the arrivals screen. And if there is no direct flight then every passenger coming from there might or might not actually come from there and definitely will have to pass through some other country which is then the actual country the passenger is deemed to have come from. So without direct flights, the inclusion of these countries already doesn’t make sense.

But now let’s have a look at their population and Covid situation.
Bonaire has 20,100 inhabitants, Sint Eustatius and Saba have 3,138 and 1,933 inhabitants and the Wallis and Futuna Islands have 11,500 inhabitants.

Well, it turns out that Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are three different islands that are together called “Caribbean Netherlands” and together they 1,462 cases and 12 deaths. That is 54,112 cases per 1 mio population and 417 deaths per 1mil population. Interestingly, the Netherlands, which are NOT on the list, have 75867 cases per 1 mio and they have 968 deaths per 1 mio. (All figures are from the start of the pandemic.) Ireland has 946 deaths per 1 mio.

So Caribbean Netherlands are on the quarantine list, but the Netherlands are not?  Why would that be? Ohhh, the Netherlands are in the EU and Caribbean Netherlands not!?

And you probably guessed that Wallis and Futuna are not looking too bad either. 37,000 cases per 1 mio and 361 deaths per 1 mio. (Their total number of deaths is actually just 4.) A THIRD of the deaths per 1 mio than Ireland, but Wallis and Futuna are a danger zone!!! VERY odd!

So how do they compare with some of the European countries? In all cases, the first number is the cases per 1 mio and the second number is the deaths per 1 mio.
France        72,523 / 1,473
Italy            60,088 / 1,827
Germany   34,200 / 922
Spain        70,376 / 1,615
UK              63,878 / 1,861

and just for comparison again:

Caribbean Netherlands 54,112 / 454
Wallis and Futuna 37,000 / 361

That quarantine list makes sense, right??? NOT!!!!!!!!

There is a slight weakness in the numbers above: I used total number of cases and total number of deaths since March 2020 as provided by and it is possible that the Covid activity right now appears to be a lot higher and it was averaged out over the year. But if there is a TOTAL of 4 deaths it doesn’t look MADLY dangerous.

An interesting article here describes that Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney got France, Germany and Italy taken off the list for POLITICAL reasons.

So if anyone claims that the hotel quarantine measures are there to protect Ireland, they are wrong. IF that was the intention then every country that currently has any Covid cases should be on the list. No matter where this country is! And then country by country should be checked and taken off the list if the cases/deaths numbers are below a clearly defined and publicised threshold.

The list is a purely political list that shows even a degree of xenophobia and discrimination towards poorer countries and countries we have less contact with. The UK should DEFINITELY be on the list. The USA should be! Estonia and a few other Eastern European countries seem to struggle with Covid in a bad way right now and that would justify putting them on it.

And then the RTE article adds another component:
“Speaking on Highland Radio today, Mr Coveney said: “This is primarily about Irish people coming home … should we be putting them into a hotel and charging them for the privilege?””

Ohh, so the list is NOT to protect against a virus, but it really is just to keep foreigners out? Or rather: If it affects our own, then we can’t expect them to pay for a stupid hotel quarantine that won’t make any difference anyway. But if it is foreigners from Wallis and Futuna or from Brazil or South Africa, then we let them bleed?

And finally: The first thing that should have been done IF it was about a virus, is to close the border to Northern Ireland, because you can STILL fly into Belfast and drive to Dublin to avoid the Hotel Quarantine completely.

Smoke, screen and mirrors!!! Do not trust any politician or any NPHET member. There are hidden agendas everywhere.

That’s not democratic! – Fine Gael Leadership Competition

That’s not democratic! – Fine Gael Leadership Competition

After Enda Kenny stepped down (and he was nearly FORCED to step down because he made some nonsensical promises about his longevity in the role of party leader and Taoiseach), the leadership battle between Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar commenced and on Friday was decision day. 10,000 party members, the 223 Fine Gael councillors and 73 senators and PDs (the Parliamentary Party) had an opportunity to vote.

Before the vote already 46 of the 73 members of the Parliamentary Party had declared their support for Leo Varadkar and only 21 for Simon Coveney, but among the 10,000 party members the preferences looked different! About 65% of the party members were supporting Coveney and only 35% were on Varadkar’s side.

But now the odd thing: This is a party in a Western country where you would expect the highest level of democracy and fairness. Right? Not so!!

Oddly, the 10,000 party members only have 25% of “weight” in the final decision, the FG councillors have 10% “weight”, which means that 73 men and women control 65% of the party. You could say that these 73 were elected by the members (and by non-members) and therefore have a double legitimisation. But it is still odd that ONE member of the Parliamentary Party has close to the same weight as nearly 400 party members.

Doesn’t sound very democratic, does it!?

In the end Leo Varadkar won just 35% of the party member votes, but he won 55% of the councillor votes and 70% of the votes from TDs and senators. In total he got 60% of the votes and therefore won.

Taoiseach puts himself on ejection seat, but stop talking about it!

Taoiseach puts himself on ejection seat, but stop talking about it!

There is a time in our lives when we all have to leave. I am not talking about that final leave, that will put us 6ft under, but I am talking about leaving a job, leaving a hobby, leaving a group of friends, leaving a football/chess/car racing/knitting/etc club. It is usually best if YOU can choose when you depart and also it is best to keep it a bit as a surprise just because it should ideally be on your terms not on other people’s terms.

The current Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, wasn’t clever enough to ensure that he was in charge of his future, but stupidly he indicated to the nation that he might not lead his party into the next election. Maybe he wanted to get some positive gain from this statement, but it certainly has back fired as his party and in fact the political landscape in Ireland seems to be mesmerised by the question WHEN will he step down. It totally distract from the real issues and it must interfere with the ability of the current government to do the best job they are capable of.

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of the current Taoiseach, but at the same time I do think that day to day politics is a lot more relevant than the discussion about who will be the next leader of Fine Gael and the “peacocking” of his possible successors is really putting me off all of them. Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney or Frances Fitzgerald? Neither of them has been elected, so I don’t really care about them.

At the moment, there is one guy in charge. He is telling us about how Ireland will deal with a Brexit….and seems to talk more nonsense than sense. He is going to bring a silly bowl of shamrock to Donald Trump, a move that certainly doesn’t find support everywhere because of the person the American president is. And he didn’t impress with his handling of the recent whistleblower affair in the police force.

So no “Well done! Great job!”, but because I don’t think the discussion about him stepping down (when, how, where?) will bring Ireland forward in a positive way, I would prefer if the speculation about the date of stepping down and about the successor would not take up newspaper headline after newspaper headline.

As long as the man is in his current job, don’t distract him all the time! If he doesn’t give his job full attention, it might turn out even worse than now.


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