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Image / Editorial

What we can learn from Minister for Health Simon Harris’s ‘boo-boo’


by Shayna Sappington
23rd Apr 2020

Simon Harris apologised on Twitter for a misstatement he made during an interview, suggesting that there just might be honest TDs out there after all


Minister for Health Simon Harris took to Twitter to apologise for an “awful boo-boo” he made during a recent interview on RTÉ 2FM’s breakfast show.

When asked about a possible vaccine for Covid-19, Harris replied: “Remember this is coronavirus Covid-19 — that means there have been 18 other coronaviruses, and I don’t think they have actually successfully found a vaccine for any.”

Yikes! I guess the long hours are getting to him or, if he’s anything like me, nervousness brings out his dense and compulsive twin.

Later at a daily briefing, the State’s chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan cleared things up by saying the 19 for which the virus is named refers to the year in which it arose.

Naturally, everyone started attacking Harris’s intelligence online, but in the Minister’s defence, he immediately owned up to his mistake and made a public apology video on Twitter.

“I can only assume it’s a degree of cabin fever, […] maybe a bit of sleep deprivation,” Harris said.

“I stupidly talked about there being 18 coronaviruses, which of course, there isn’t. I can be an awful ould idiot at times, so my apologies for any confusion that caused.”

Fair play to you, Harris, for admitting your “boo-boo” and apologising immediately for having a massive brain fart live on the air.

Many slippery politicians would use the opportunity to make excuses or blame the comment on bad intel from someone else.

*cough* Trump *cough* Chinese virus *cough cough*

And in the current crazy climate of quarantine protests, Tiger King fandom and Kim Jong-un’s health cover-up conspiracies, it’s nice to have a bit of honesty, even if it’s from a TD.

It shows that social media can be used for good. We can confront issues head on instead of sending passive aggressive emails, leaving people on read and attacking strangers through Facebook comments.

Sure, we all had a giggle when Harris acknowledged his ‘boo-boo’ but he also set a shining example across social media. When our leaders publicly admit their mistakes — and avoid playing the blame game – they teach the rest of us to face our mistakes head on, to take responsibility for them and, ultimately, to own them.

He also introduced us to the word ‘boo-boo’ — and for that we are eternally grateful.

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