Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar flouted lockdown regulations and social distancing norms by mingling with friends over a picnic at Dublin's Phoenix Park. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Irish officials had warned against holding picnics.
Since its outbreak in Wuhan province of China in December last year, the global pandemic has infected over 5.5 million people and killed more than 347,000 people. In Ireland, 24,639 people have been tested positive for the fata virus, while 1,608 have succumbed to it.
Video of PM Flouting Rules Goes Viral on Social Media
Varadkar, who wore a pair of knee-length shorts sans any shirt was spotted along with his partner Matt Barrett and two other friends at the park located near Steward's Lodge where the PM has been staying during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Daily Mail reported that some of the onlookers said that the PM was not following the mandatory 6 feet safety distance rule. Meanwhile, Varadkar's office insisted that the PM did not violate any lockdown rules.
The publication reported that the authorities permitted a gathering of not more than four people provided they maintained 2m distance amongst themselves after the lockdown rules were eased on May 16.
Under the lockdown rules, Ireland had also banned people from covering more than 5 Km distance from their home. Even though Varadkar's house is located at a distance of 7 km from the park, he is currently staying at the official residence of the Taoiseach, which is within 5km of the park.
Varadkar Faces Flak on Twitter
The Sun quoted the PM's spokesperson as saying that the Irish PM was in line with public health guidance. "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," said the spokesperson.
"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," the spokesperson added further.
The video clip featuring Varadkar has gone viral on Twitter with over 62,000 views. "An honest media puts this in the public domain and lets the public decide whether it matters. The Irish media makes the decision that they like Leo Varadkar and will protect the Taoiseach breaking his own government guidelines. They'd be crying if it was Gemma O'Doherty," commented one user.
"Should @LeoVaradkar resign due to his outlandish behaviour in the Phoenix Park today?" wrote another.
"People have been isolated from their loved ones. Grandparents have been too afraid to hold their grandchildren for weeks. Leo made up the rules. Leo is breaking the rules. He is laughing at us," expressed a user.