We Interview Stephen Donnelly About That Thumbs Up Emoji

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AMID A series of freedom of information requests by the Sunday Independent revealing a strained relationship between Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and CMO Tony Holohan towards the end of 2020, one exchange stood out involving Donnelly replying with a ‘thumbs up’ emoji to grave warnings from Holohan that the R rate in Dublin was rising in October.

Graciously agreeing to discuss the storm in a tea cup, Minister Donnelly sat down via DMs with WWN.

WWN: Ugh, we’d say you could have done without this, not ideal is it?

Stephen Donnelly: ?

WWN: How does it feel to have serious and sustained criticism leveled at your performance, and rumours that many that work with you find you condescending and lacking the skills to lead the department effectively?

SD: ?

WWN: We’re detecting a hint of detatched sarcasm that serves Chandler in Friends very well but a sitting Minister for Health less so, a thumbs up emoji to the CMO begging for some acknowledgement of the severity of the situation, really?

SD: ?

WWN: Oh, very funny.

SD: ?

WWN: A warning of a situation potentially spiraling out of control and you respond with the seriousness of someone being asked to pick up milk on the way home?

SD: ?

WWN: Could you expand on the wider criticism of performance, how do you rate your performance?

SD: ?

WWN: Really?

SD: ?

WWN: OK. After a whirlwind few days in Europe, it looks like Ireland is getting an increase in deliveries of vaccines, that’s positive tell us more about that and how that rollout will be managed. Will it be with the same terrible communication?

SD: ?

WWN: The EU invoking Article 16 was outrageous; threatening to stop the free movement of goods into Northern Ireland, surely you can share your reaction to that? What was your reaction at the time?

SD: ?

WWN: ?‍♂️

SD: ?

WWN: Ok, really fucking mature.

SD: ?

WWN: How do you feel now about a joined up Zero Covid response that knows that proper quarantining from incoming travellers exists?

SD: ?

WWN: Oh, so he speaks?

SD: ?

WWN: Right, you can get ?? you ? why don’t you take your ? somewhere else and ? off.

SD: ?

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