Paul Murphy TD has been remarkably consistent in demanding more and more Covid restrictions. So much so, in fact, that on Saturday, he approvingly retweeted an Irish Times article which described him as “the Dáil’s most consistent advocate of a zero covid strategy”.
Here he is, basking in the acclaim, and criticising the Government for its failure to contain the illness:
Hmmmm, seems to me the "or more" kind of undermines the point that I foresaw "only 500 cases a day" by Christmas.
It's only a detail, but it's fundamentally about the narrative that nobody saw this coming when lots of people did.
— Paul Murphy (@paulmurphy_TD) January 9, 2021
As you can see from his tweet, Murphy actually takes issue with the Irish Times’ claim that he only foresaw about 500 cases a day. He would have us believe that he, in fact, foresaw an even bigger catastrophe, much like the one the country faces now, and that had the Government only listened to him, and cancelled Christmas, we’d be in a much better place.
In Paul’s telling, opening restaurants and bars so that people could make a living, and socialise over Christmas, was deeply wrong.
So what might his attitude be, you might ask, to a large gathering of people to protest the garda shooting of George Nkencho, at a time when there are over six thousand cases a day?
You don’t really have to ask, now, do you?
Here’s the video in question, retweeted by Murphy, approvingly:
— United Against Racism (@UnitedARacism) January 10, 2021
There are, what, easily a couple of hundred people at that event? Are they standing two metres apart? Not on your life.
But of course, we’re familiar with the pattern by now. Public health in Ireland is critical, unless there’s a left wing protest to attend. Law and order during the pandemic is vital, unless there’s a left wing protest to attend. Clear leadership and communication is important, unless there’s a left wing protest to defend.
It’s very hard not to come to the conclusion that there are two Irelands: One for normal people like you, and another for people with the correct opinions and preoccupations.
And those two Irelands operate under very different sets of rules, and laws, and assumptions.
It’s highly unlikely, incidentally, that any of the rest of the press will even bother pointing out Murphy’s hypocrisy. For one thing, that would involve criticising the protest itself, which no self-respecting middle class white Irish journalist wants to be seen to do, lest they come across as unsympathetic to the cause of racial justice, or whatever.
Calling this stuff out means an afternoon, or maybe even several days, of being denounced on social media as a potential racist, or white supremacist sympathiser. None of your colleagues will come to your defence, and establishment Ireland might privately sympathise with you, but that’s about it.
Murphy himself will skate, meanwhile, and will be allowed onto radio shows and the pages of newspapers without being challenged on this, because to challenge him on it would simply derail the conversation into a half hour lecture about racism, when the interviewer wants to talk about covid. Or at least, that’s the convenient excuse.
But people see this stuff, and they see the hypocrisy, and they get angry. They feel a sense of injustice – as if they are being treated unfairly, while others are being given special dispensation to break the rules, not only with impunity, but with a political endorsement.
In a sensible society, Murphy would be dragged across the coals by the media, censured by his elected colleagues, and fecked out on his ear at the next election, for this.
But we don’t live in a sensible society, so the chances are everybody except Gript will ignore it. Let’s hope I’m wrong.