Coronavirus in Ireland – Taoiseach's afternoon in Phoenix Park 'in line with public health guidance', spokesperson says

THE Irish Prime Minister has been accused of breaking the country's rules on social distancing during the current sunny weather.

Leo Varadkar was spotted meeting friends with partner Matthew Barrett in Dublin's popular Phoenix Park during the current coronavirus restrictions.

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However, a spokesperson said he was acting "in line with public health guidance".

They said: "The Taoiseach was in the Phoenix Park with his partner Matt and two friends on Sunday afternoon in line with public health guidance.

"He was within 5k of the Stewards Lodge, where he is staying during the covid emergency.

‘The Taoiseach has been in stewards lodge during the last few weeks as it has a secure office and video conferencing facilities which allows him to work from home.

"Just like previous Taoisigh, he pays a nightly fee to use it."


Current Covid-19 restrictions specify that up to four people who don't live together can meet outdoors while staying two metres apart.

Despite Mr Varadkar adhering to these rules, some on social media claimed he was breaching social distancing guidelines.

One Twitter user asked: "Should @LeoVaradkar resign due to his outlandish behaviour in the Phoenix Park today?"

While another said: "Absolutely bizarre – @LeoVaradkar in a public park today breaching basic social distancing rules.

"Imagine if this was Boris or Trump! Havin’ the craic with no top on, in the midst of a pandemic?! #NotMyTaoiseach."

However, many others were quick to jump to Mr Varadkar's defence.


One user said: "Leo Varadkar was abiding by all the rules in the Phoenix Park.

"Like everyone who works, he deserves a break. Can curtain-twitching Twitter also take some time off?"

Another said: "Can’t understand people getting angry about Leo Varadkar in the Phoenix Park.

"It’s within the guidelines and distancing very hard to assess on photos.

"Saw several tweets yesterday about how well people were behaving in the Park. The man is entitled to relax just like everybody."

Yesterday, it was revealed four more people have died from Covid-19 in Ireland.

The Department of Health has also announced 57 new cases of the coronavirus.

There have now been a total 1,608 Covid related deaths and 24,639 confirmed cases in Ireland.

The news comes as Boris Johnson's chief aide Dominic Cummings battled to save his job after being accused of breaking the rules during the lockdown.

In a statement today he defended himself over his 260-mile trip to Durham during lockdown by saying his "small child's health was an exception".

The Prime Minister's top aide today insisted he had done nothing wrong and revealed he even faced threats against his family.


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