Former NPHET member Martin Cormican says he ‘didn’t set out to open can of worms’ – – Our News, Your Views

Former NPHET member Martin Cormican says he ‘didn’t set out to open can of worms’


Professor Martin Cormican said he believed the “vast majority” of public health members of the National Public Health Emergency Team believed school closures were unnecessary for public health reasons during the Covid-19 pandemic, reports RTE.

Speaking about RTÉ’s Brendan O’Connor programme, the former NPHET member discussed the lessons that can be learned for future emergencies.

It follows comments he recently made that Ireland imposed measures during the Covid-19 pandemic that unduly restricted fundamental freedoms.

“I didn’t set out to open a can of worms,” he said, reports RTE.

Professor Cormican, a professor of bacteriology at the University of Galway’s medical school, reiterated the NPHET’s advisory role and that it was the government that made the decisions.

He said some of the worst effects of the Covid restrictions have been on children who he said have been deprived of an education for a “very long period of time”, reports RTE.

“Effects of that were most dramatic,” reports RTE.

He said it was especially difficult for children with special needs who have “lost years of progress” and for those in disadvantaged circumstances.

He said there should be a process in the future whereby any restrictions are reviewed from a human rights perspective within three to four weeks by those who “are not intimidated by public health issues,” reports RTE.

Having the final draft of the recommendations approved by all would be a “more robust process,” he added, acknowledging that it would not be easy to achieve.

He said Ireland had no worse results and did many things well and said it was important to recognize that but added that there are things that could have been done better.

With the pandemic response, he said, there will always be positives and negatives, saying this is the case with all policies.

Meanwhile, Dr Gabriel Scally said any review of how the covid pandemic has been handled must not include pent-up blame on individuals and should instead be “firmly oriented” towards future learning and progress, reports RTE.

Speaking to Colm Ó Mongáin on RTÉ on Saturday, Dr Scally said there should be no talk of seeking malpractice, although he admitted to saying some things have been ‘done wrong’ during the pandemic.

“Blaming people isn’t going to help us in the long run,” he added, reports RTE.

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