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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 15 August, 2020

Dr Glynn on crowds drinking outside: 'If gatherings like that continue to happen, it's inevitable we'll run into problems'

The acting chief medical officer said today that if people make the wrong choices “we could end back up where we were”.

Dr Ronan Glynn at tonight's press conference.
Dr Ronan Glynn at tonight's press conference.
Image: Leah Farrell/

ACTING CHIEF MEDICAL officer Dr Ronan Glynn has said that images shared on social media of large crowds outside drinking at the weekend have made him “very concerned”. 

Vintners, doctors and politicians have criticised the scenes at the weekend, with images of Dame Court in Dublin shared most widely in recent days.

The Taoiseach was also critical at a post-Cabinet press conference today, where he said: “If this behaviour were to continue we’d have to address it. Nothing can be guaranteed if this behaviour were to continue.”

Dr Glynn expanded on this theme this evening, and said that we’ve come through a “very difficult phase” where “very punitive measures” had made it very difficult for communities and families. 

“What we’re asking them to do now is more straightforward in relative terms,” he said. “We’re asking them to follow public health advice, to physically distance, to not go into environments where they’ll put themselves at risk and others at risk.

We’ve been asking them to do that for months now on the basis to do it for their friends and families. But we’re at a point where we’re asking them to do that for their friends and neighbours who are healthcare workers. They’re simply exhausted and not ready for another wave.
We’re asking them to do it for their nieces and nephews who really need to get back to school in September. We’re asking people to do it for those who are sick and vulnerable. If we don’t do it, it’ll be the sick and vulnerable who’ll be most at risk if we get a second wave.  

Dr Glynn added that the vast majority of businesses, pubs and restaurants have been adhering to the guidance and said they must be commended for ensuring they’re doing what they can to protect staff and customers. 

However, scenes like those at the weekend have prompted fears that there will be a second wave of the virus in the coming weeks. 

In a survey commissioned by the Department of Health of 2,004 people nationally, it found that 74% of people think there’ll be a second wave. Furthermore, 41% of people think we’re through the worst of the crisis while 32% believe the worst is ahead of us.

Dr Glynn said: “We’re in an almost uniquely good position in Europe at present, but we’re at a crossroads. We have choices to make. If we make the right choices, we can hope to keep this disease under control. But if we take the wrong choices… we could end back up where we were weeks and weeks ago. 

If it’s an isolated incident, if it doesn’t happen on a repeated basis, then hopefully we’ll be okay. If gatherings like that continue to happen, it’s inevitable that we will run into problems in the weeks and months to come. It doesn’t take public health knowledge or years of scientific training to know that.. the virus is still out there. 

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Sean Murray

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