The remarkable degeneracy of the modern Irish state could be encapsulated in this official advice from the taxpayer-funded HSE:

Remember close sexual contact with anyone you are not living with can put you and others at risk of coronavirus. Use condoms and dental dams to reduce contact with saliva or faeces, especially during oral or anal sex and avoid rimming (mouth on anus) as it might spread coronavirus.

I can think of a few better reasons than the virus to avoid licking faeces, but isn’t it wonderful that our health service is so fully invested in the sexual revolution that only a national emergency has prompted their call to suspend ‘rimming’ activities and more. Such are the heroic sacrifices all of us must make apparently.

I wonder did it ever occur to them that these practices might lead to worse than the coronavirus for those who partake, or is it just to avoid ICU overcrowding that they have now decided to impart their wisdom?

Perhaps we’ll never know, but one thing is quite clear: we shouldn’t really be surprised at the state of our hospitals when these are the people in charge of our health service. It’s only confirmation that the cloud we suspected many senior civil servants inhabit does indeed exist.

There is some very startling research however that should have changed their ‘expert’ advice on sexual health a long time ago, but it’s seemingly inconvenient to those who worship at the altar of indulgence.

How long will the HSE wait before telling the people of Ireland about the link between ill-health and the number of sexual partners one has in life? The longitudinal study published in February’s BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health journal found that, for example, women with more than 10 partners in a lifetime were almost twice as likely as women with one or no sexual partners to develop cancer, with men fairing only slightly better.

Certain cancer-linked STI’s are thought to be at the heart of the matter, but we have yet to see public health warnings about that.

I also hope the HSE won’t wait any longer to tell gay men and others about the well-documented risks of anal cancer in the community, caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Our health service seem happy to promote all sorts of queer activites among young and old, but the significant risks are rarely explained.

If they aren’t willing to oppose rimming in everyday situations, only during a pandemic, then I don’t expect they will warn against almost any other ‘sexual’ activity either, though the surreal quality of the current advice remains.

Normal people should see the problem with licking faeces, but maybe I am expecting too much of our health chiefs.