WHILE the caretaker Fine Gael government has been embroiled in a worthy ongoing battle to slow the spread of Covid-19, concerns have emerged about the lack of proper record-keeping of the various discussions that have informed the decisions made. The issue has been raised by TDs, including new Labour Party leader Alan Kelly and by Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly, and is valid in the interests of transparency and accountability.
Mr Kelly was also concerned that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), chaired by Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, only kept notes of meetings, as opposed to detailed minutes, and claimed also that no disagreements on decisions made had been recorded. He said that future generations will want to know where people stood on decisions.
The fact that the current government is only a caretaker one does not excuse it from having to record the minutes of meetings where big decisions are made, especially in relation to restrictions which potentially interfere with people’s civil liberties. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris are saying that they are just following NPHET’s advice, which is very convenient because they can also blame them for unpopular decisions!
But, as Louise O’Reilly stated, ‘These are unprecedented times and, in and of itself, that makes it more important than ever that written records are kept of meetings and the decisions being taken.’