OUR political leaders here and across Europe should take a step back and reconsider how they go about their business, especially on the international stage. Last week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar felt compelled to go to an informal meeting of trade ministers in Berlin.
While Germany was then on the Green List of countries where people can travel to without being required to quarantine when they return home, the very act of travelling and meeting people from so many different countries there is risky. Ironically, it emerged that Dr Varadkar had come into contact with an Irish EU staff member who tested positive for Covid-19, so the Tánaiste took the test himself when he got home and it came back negative.
However, he decided, in line with public health advice, to restrict his movements to home and outdoor exercise and to work from home, declaring ‘There are no implications for anyone who has been in close contact with me.’
Several other EU politicians of different nationalities also put themselves in quarantine after the meeting, begging the question as to why they all needed to meet in person in the first instance.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney also decided to restrict his movements after he returned from a meeting in Brussels, while an EU summit that Taoiseach Micheál Martin was to attend was pushed back a week because the EU Council president Charles Michel had come in contact with a security officer who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Our Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue, after chairing his first meeting as Eurogroup president, was also forced to restrict his movements when his French counterpart tested positive for the virus a week later. So, our politicians really should be conducting their EU business on Zoom and be seen to be giving good example for the public to follow.