The question a lot of people in Northern Ireland have been asking recently is if the Executive is taking the country on a Zero-Covid path in their handling of the pandemic? This is largely due to what seems to be an irrational response to what are now extremely low numbers of infections, hospitalisations and mortalities. Suspicion has been mounting especially as vaccines are being rolled out at pace yet we are told that restrictions will last into next year and possibly beyond. Weren’t the vaccines supposed to be our way out of this nightmare, many are asking? So why then, will lockdowns and masks be required into 2022?
Elements within the Executive had indeed been pushing for a Zero-Covid approach. That has been known to some since early last summer. But as numbers were low at the time other elements within the Executive began pushing for businesses to be reopened and some semblance of normality to return. This went against the wishes of the Health Minister, the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Advisor who were united in their support for an elimination approach.
A battle would ensue between the “medical experts” and some politicians on what was the best way forward. We would be forced back into further lockdowns and “fire-breakers” before eventually the “medical experts” would win the argument and we would be put into a lockdown again on the 26th of December that was intended to keep us locked down until we reached as near to elimination of the virus as possible and hopefully before the public would realise what was going on. Neither the “medical experts” nor the Executive was honest with us in just how long this lockdown would last for and they still aren’t being honest in fear of losing people’s willingness to comply.
Zero-Covid by Stealth
In July of 2020, one of the most senior figures in the Zero Covid movement, Susan Michie of the UK government’s Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) and the Zero-Covid advocacy group, “Independent Sage” would tell a journalist for the British Medical Journal, Ingrid Torjesen;
Northern Ireland and Scotland have explicitly adopted zero covid as a strategy, and the Republic of Ireland has basically been working to that way. (emphasis added)Susan Michie, 3 August 2020, BMJ
I contacted Torjesen to confirm Michie’s statement, which she did. She also informed me that Michie made the statement to her personally in an interview.
Just a few days before that interview, in July, the leader of the Zero Covid movement, Devi Sridhar, would write in the Guardian:
Scotland and Northern Ireland are pursuing a “zero Covid” objective, aiming to eliminate community transmission.Devi Sridhar, 31 July 2020
Northern Ireland was taking such an approach but as some politicians pushed back the idea was simply put on hold. It was never taken off the table.
Fast forward to 23 November 2020 and the Green Party’s Rachael Woods asked the Minister for the Economy “for her assessment on what impact a zero COVID-19 strategy would have on the economy in Northern Ireland.” To which the Minister replied:
A zero COVID-19 society is the optimum outcome that the Executive has been actively pursuing since the outbreak of Coronavirus in Northern Ireland in February 2020.
The Executive have supported the Department of Health in the production of the original and subsequent amendments to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020, and now through the NI COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, there is genuine hope that this can be achieved. (emphasis added)
So that’s confirmation that Zero-Covid was still the outcome “the Executive was actively pursuing” at the end of November. They just needed the right moment to put their plan back into action.
A few weeks later in December, Devi Sridhar would be invited to give counsel to the Stormont Health Committee on the benefits of Zero Covid and as a strong supporter of lockdowns and of a complete elimination strategy she used the opportunity to express her disdain for “the anti-lockdowners”. The “anti-lockdowners” Sridhar refers to be are people who are against being locked at home and having their freedoms taken away as if any rational personal would actually be in favour being locked down. However, Sridhar is not a rational person.
Three weeks after Sridhar’s presentation to the Health Committee, we would enter into what was to be the longest lockdown yet with little hope for a return of our freedoms to well into 2022.
The Dangers of Zero-Covid’ism
On the face of it, who wouldn’t wish for a day when we had Zero-Covid? It’s an honourable desire and one I believe everyone would be eager to achieve. However, chasing such an idea 12 months into a global pandemic is a fallacy. There are many untold dangers around pursuing this goal long after a virus has taken root and these dangers are never addressed.
For Zero-Coviders the idea of living with the virus is the radical position to take. For them, the only acceptable outcome is to eradicate the virus at any cost. And therein lies the danger. Those seeking to try and obtain elimination have never offered up any cost analysis for their strategy.
- How many lives will be lost in the pursuit of their goal?
- How long will it take?
- What will be the cost on society as a whole?
- What happens if their goal continues to be elusive?
- Do we keep tightening restrictions to the extent we can’t leave home at all?
- Is there a time limit being placed on when they decide that Zero-Covid is not obtainable and we lift restrictions?
- Or do we continue down the rabbit hole forever?
- What happens if the island of Ireland reaches Zero-Covid whilst the rest of the world doesn’t?
- Is international travel banned forever?
- Must everyone coming here be forced to quarantine for 14 days, forever?
- Must we quarantine for 14 days after returning from holidays, forever?
- How do we exist in a Zero-Covid bubble?
These questions are not asked nor answered. Instead, they come off with ludicrous positions of quarantining products at the European border with the UK for 3 days in case they have Covid. That includes fresh produce, sitting in a storage container for 3 days (longer than its shelf life) to make sure it isn’t carrying COVID19.
Advocates also have a disturbing fixation with young children, seeking to treat them like disease-infested entities that need to be kept away from each other and who require to have their every breathing moment controlled.
Deepti Gurdasan, who along with Zoe Hyde and Trish Greenhalgh have an almost religious-like belief in having everyone wearing masks from the ages of 5 and above. They got together to devise this graph on how best to control kids at school. This radical approach is the result of losing touch with reality and becoming so fixed on your goal that you quickly become blinded to the harms your actions may cause.
Not just do they demand face masks for kids 5 and over but they also advise that along with masks, children should wear face shields and be placed behind perspex screens at their desks. This is on top of them being anally swabbed going into school to test for the virus, as recommended by Professor Zoë Hyde.
Yet such radicalism and concerning focus on children still isn’t enough to deter elements at Stormont such as Gerry Carroll of “People Before Profit” and members of Sinn Fein who support Zero-Covid as a strategy. Carroll is an MLA in the NI Assembly, the only one for his party, and a quite loud and proud supporter of the Zero-Covid ideology and those who espouse it.
During the Health Committee meeting on 3rd December, Carroll, fawning over Sridhar, would ask for her view on what would happen if Northern Ireland didn’t continue on a Zero Covid path.
Either you’re going to live with daily restrictions on your life because we need to stop super-spreading events and keep hospitalisation rates low, but you can move around easily. Or, you can’t move around easily, but you get most of your daily life back in terms of your normal daily routines.
In essence, what Sridhar is claiming here is that if we don’t eliminate the virus we will continue to suffer restrictions of some degree for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t occur to her that we can also learn to live with it. This is not something the Zero-Covid movement accepts. Theirs is an all or nothing approach. Coexistence isn’t an acceptable policy plan.
Sridhar too has a fixation with controlling children’s movements around schools. Just a few weeks ago she retweeted an article from another Zero-Covid Zealot, again with children as the focus. This article uses an image of a child, wearing a mask and a face shield, behind a desk screen having her hands sanitised. The same depiction as images tweeted out by Zoë Hyde.
At some stage, we must begin to acknowledge that what on the face of it is an honourable desire is vastly becoming a radical ideology with an almost cult-like following. People who see no compromise with Covid19 to the extent that children’s innocence is being sacrificed on the altar of Zero-Covid fanaticism.
Marie-Lousie Connolly Confirms NI’s Zero-Covid Strategy
Based on some of my conversations with health professionals, in order for normal services to restart, both the number of Covid-infected patients in hospital, and the number of people dying each day with the disease, would need to be in single figures – and the closer to zero the better. (emphasis added)Marie-Louise Connolly – 2 March 2021
This statement was picked up by a Twitter user @JND1905 who decided to ask the BBC for the source of this claim. (republished here with permission)
The BBC responded saying;
Our Health Correspondent (Connolly) based her assessment on..discussions with DoH representatives.”
My Sources Confirm Zero-Covid Approach
In a September 2020 interview, Marie-Louise Connolly would leave little doubt of just how blurred the lines had become between being a “BBC NI Health Correspondent” and reporting stories for the Department of Health.
“Also these decisions [restrictions] as we know are based on scientific evidence..”
A journalist’s role here should be to question the evidence, not simply to read from a DoH handout supplied to her before the interview. What she should have said is that “We have been told by the DoH these decisions are based on scientific evidence, however, we have been unable to confirm that [or] and we have confirmed that and here is how..” But to proclaim that she knows the decisions are based upon scientific evidence without showing how she knows is to propagate an official line as fact and absent evidence.
This interview appeared on the BBC on 9th September and I can now reveal that it infuriated some well-placed people so much they reached out to me and began trying to push back against the BBC’s role as a DoH PR firm.
I signalled to this occurrence in a November tweet to the BBC’s Jayne McCormack when I would say “We were told two months ago [September] that the biggest secret at Stormont was that Swann’s DoH had been leaking “suitable reports” to the BBC”
This contact occurred as a result of Connolly’s interview. Granted, there had been other instances that were causing alarm, but this interview came across to certain people as a clear indication that she was flaunting her close relationship with the Department of Health. A relationship that was, and is, causing concern amongst the public.
Since then all the data we have been provided has been proven to be correct and points to something more sinister going on within the DoH that they are attempting to coverup. A Zero-Covid policy. But thanks to Marie-Louise’s report we now have the Department of Health on public record confirming their Zero-Covid approach.
A Fabricated Sunday Times Article?
On Sunday Connolly would tweet the following:
She would then be asked for further information on her tweet to which she responded that the information came from a Sunday Times article who were “quoting their sources”.
The same person would reply to Connolly asking if she knows who the”senior health officials” are to which, strangely, she would reply “Yes” she did know who the sources were and went as far as to name them, “The health minister and the CMO”.
This exchange is bizarre for several reasons. Firstly, Connolly was challenged all day Sunday for the Times article in question. Each time she was asked, she refused to answer.
She would go on to “unfollow” JD for pursuing the issue with her. Yet up to then, I was still off the opinion she wouldn’t have made it up. I mean, why would she?
But then people began uploading an article from the Sunday Times that related to Northern Ireland and COVID19 but that didn’t contain the underlying claim of her tweet, which was; “Senior health officials have said they’d like to see these figures (majority of them) in single digits before many restrictions are lifted.”
Mickey Dooley did likewise:
JD went as far as to take out a trial for the Sunday Times online to see if maybe they carried a story the actual paper didn’t and he found nothing. Still, Connolly refused to supply a link to the story.
So after extensive searching, we were unable to find the source of Connolly’s tweet that she says was published in the Sunday Times. But let’s assume for a moment it does exist, how would she know who the sources were for the story and why would she name them as Swann and McBride? Quite bizarre behaviour. But not as strange as it at first may seem…
Why Did Connolly Seemingly Fabricate a Sunday Times Article?
That’s unclear. I will let you all draw your conclusions on why she did that. Some have suggested the content of her tweet wasn’t thought out but by the time people had begun responding it was too late to remove so she made up a story deflecting away from herself. Someone else felt she purposely leaked that information on behalf of the DoH to keep a check on people’s expectations of any quick lifting of the anti-freedoms measures. One source I contacted agreed with that view and hinted that it was likely part of a greater overall PR strategy that is being rolled out by the DoH to ‘curb people’s hope for a normal summer’. They informed me that Marie-Louise often receives her “hand outs” from the DoH spin doctor David Gordon, seen below in 2020 to the left on Robin Swann.
Previously of the BBC Nolan Show, (who I exposed as having breached an agreement with a Belfast Service Station and who proceeded to chase down elderly men for not wearing a masks on their forecourt) Gordon’s links to BBC-NI are strong and well established. He has been feeding Marie-Louise Connolly information from the DoH to ‘lay the groundwork’ for upcoming pressers or crunch decision making meetings for the Executive with the aim to pressure them into acquiescing to the DoH recommendations.
Given the similarity in wording between her “Sunday Times article” and her report for the BBC on 2 March, it does seem likely there was purposeful obfuscation at work to “prime” people for a longer than expected period before the easing of restrictions.
BBC-NI and the DoH
It has long been suspected that the BBC in Northern Ireland, from the Nolan Show to Talkback to Marie-Louise Connolly has been acting as megaphones for the Department of Health since the outbreak of the pandemic early last year. Indeed, there is a plethora of publicly available evidence to support that suspicion, on top of what I have been told privately.
The BBC will always be the first to break what will be discussed at private meetings and the first to then report on what was discussed at said meetings. They don’t make any secret of this. And whilst it’s to be expected that journalists would try to get a heads up on breaking stories, it seems it’s more a case of the BBC acting as an extension of the Department of Health.
I’ve drawn much attention to these suspicions as sources within the Department of Health tried to push back against leaks made to BBC-NI. The pushback is from people who are appalled at how a state broadcaster is being used, quite happily, to help “lay[ing] the groundwork” for upcoming DoH press-conferences. In other words, at a time when media should be holding the government and its department heads to account for removing people’s rights, freedoms and liberties, the BBC-NI is aiding them in doing that very thing.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill was recently asked about these leaks at a committee meeting.
So whilst it’s common knowledge whose doing the leaking it’s the elephant in the room that few seem eager to discuss. That is partially due to the Executive using the same BBC to feed their own leaks to when it suits them so drawing too much attention to the unwanted leaks could well backfire over the longer term. Therefore it seems there is a desire to pretend it’s not happening and when asked about it to say they’re looking into it.
When the BBC refers to sourced claims that they deem authentic they will use phrases such as, ‘the BBC understands’ or the journalist may use, ‘I understand’. And Marie-Louise Connolly “understands” a lot from the Department of Health:
What Do We Know About The Easing of Anti-freedom Measures?
A source told me just after Christmas that McBride and Swann had already agreed on a roadmap only known to a few people that laid out what 2021 may look like. They said that schools would be closed to Easter and that we’d remain in a tight lockdown beyond then. They also noted that some restrictions will remain in place to “at least the end of Winter 2022”. The date of that tweet was 17th January 2021. The following month Michael McBride would say the following:
I suspect that we will require some degree of the current restrictions, certainly for the rest of this year, probably enhanced again in the autumn and winter of this year, and I think it will probably be into the following year before we see things a little more normal.Michael McBride, 8th February 2021
Then as part of the choreography, Robin Swann said on 21st January that he would request an extension to the current restrictions to at least March. This was reviewed by the Executive and his request was granted.
It took me to again remind the people of Northern Ireland that this was all just theatre and that Swann and McBride had already concocted their strategy and were just drip-feeding it to the population for the reasons of trying to retain compliance.
The source would then clarify matters for me around schools a few days later on the 27th of January.
Oddly this level of information wasn’t being fed to Connolly or BBC-NI as it’s the type of “leaks” the DoH doesn’t want to get out.
To explain the constant goalpost moving a source would advise me in January that “drip feeding” is much more successful than hitting people with the cold hard reality that they will likely be locked up for a long time.
In February I would be told the likely time scheduling for barbers and hairdressers to reopen would be in May.
On gyms, I was told the earliest date for their reopening, based upon internal DoH chatter, would be May along with barbers but it would be June before you could grab a pint with a table booked.
These dates were given to me as the “base plan” that the Executive would move no faster than. Meaning that barbers wouldn’t be opened before May and a table with food in a pub would likely not be sooner than June.
On wet pubs, July was the determined date they would open no sooner than.
I have had quite a few people challenge me on these timeframes saying they appear too drastic and too far into the future and I sincerely hope the sources and myself turn out to have been wrong. I’d be happy to perish on that rock. But I don’t think I will.
Here’s a tweet from January when I was told that summer holidays would be cancelled and lockdown would continue throughout this year (and which McBride has already said may need introducing again in Autumn).
A few weeks later, in February, and the same source would say the following; “Summer 2021 will look much like 2020.”
Just last week Robin Swann and Michael McBride ruled out summer holidays.
I could go on, the point is that the information I have received so far has been pretty good and these “predictions” are only possible because much of what you are seeing and hearing from these press-briefings has been planned long in advance. They have their own internal roadmap which they are using that we don’t get to see in case we would rebel. And that roadmap is there to be extended, not shortened. This is the real reason why we haven’t been given dates. If people knew what lay in store they may well take to the streets in large numbers. This is Zero-Covid at work – by stealth.
But don’t take my word for it or that of the sources that have contacted me. Here’s Marie-Louise Connolly on the 25th February 2021 basically confirming what my sources have told me as laid out above.
..but if you’re thinking or normality, of just being able to walk into town, or walk down to your local pub and call in, I would be very surprised if we will have moved that far by the summer.”Marie-Louise Connolly. Department of Health Spokesperson
So the evidence is clear in terms of the approach being taken by McBride and Swann but that is also being agreed on privately within the Executive. Bear in mind, whilst the DoH can bring a lot of pressure down on the Executive to bend a certain way, and they do this, ultimately these decisions rest with the Executive. It’s not clear if the totality of the Executive is aware of the true objective of the Minister for Health. I believe they have been told the best route is “maximum suppression” of the virus. If that’s the case then I strongly advise they don’t dismiss the evidenced findings of this investigation too lightly. “Maximum suppression” is Zero-Covid.
It’s quite clear that this Zero-Covid strategy potentially keeps us under some form of restrictions indefinitely and at least well into 2022. We often hear Michael McBride say that we will have ‘to live with the virus for some time’ and that is because if he said that we must eradicate it the gameplay would be exposed. Don’t look to what he is saying, but rather look to what he is advising the Executive to do. Look at their actions. The constant moving of the goalposts. Just one more lockdown. Just one more set of restrictions. Just one more month. Just one more review. To now telling us restrictions are here for at least the next 12 months with minimal easing during the summer. And this is WITH vaccines being circulated. What does that approach tell you?
And of course proof of the pudding is in the eating. Her’s my latest graph showing inpatient data for COVID-19 patients in Northern Ireland.
On the 12th January there were 1,051 inpatients with a +ve PCR. Today, 29 March there are 131.
On the 22nd January there were 71 ICU patients with a +ve PCR. Today, 29 March there are 18.
On 17th January there were 29 deaths related to COVID-19, today there were 3.
I hope this report goes some way to informing you, using an evidence-based approach, to what is going on behind the scenes and how it’s being played out at press-briefings. The more of you that become informed and spread this information the greater the chance we have of pressuring politicians into rejecting “Zero-Covid’ism” and instead embracing a personal responsibility approach as practised by various government around the world such as Sweden, South Dakota, Texas, and Florida, to name a few.
If vaccines work at even preventing the most vulnerable from getting very sick. Then why will we see lockdowns and masks to 2022? Unless, of course, vaccines don’t work as well as they are being touted they do and therefore the Executive are being forced into taking an extremely cautious approach. If that’s the case, you do wonder why we are even bothering with vaccines at all and why Florida, Sweden and South Dakota can get on with lives whilst we must continue to exist to avoid dying?
We need our lives back and out of the hands of “medical experts”.
Special Thanks To: