Mary Lou McDonald urges 'clarity' from Taoiseach on Covid-19 restrictions

Politicians and people in a position of authority in Irish society need to lead by example regarding the observation of Covid-19 rules, according to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, responding to images of the Taoiseach meeting up with friends in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the office of Leo Varadkar said he was in the park on Sunday with his partner and two friends, in line with public health guidance, and within a safe distance of State lodgings in the park.

Speaking to Radio Kerry today, Deputy McDonald says that leaders have a responsibility not to add confusion to existing rules being observed by the public:

"I did understand that the advice was not to have picnics. I know they are having picnics.

"I just take the general view that for the head of government, for anyone in elected office, y'know, you need to add clarity, and not confusion."

A video emerged over the weekend on Twitter of Mr Varadkar meeting friends with his partner Matthew Barrett, in the popular Dublin park.

It has not been confirmed when the video was taken.

Photos have also emerged on social media of the Taoiseach in the park with his partner and two friends.

In a statement, spokesperson for the Taoiseach 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 5km of the Stewards Lodge, where he is staying during the Covid Emergency."

The spokesperson added the Taoiseach was staying at Stewards Lodge as it has secure office and video conferencing facilities.

He is paying a nightly fee to stay there.