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'Self-centred fools, grow up' - Gareth on anti-mask protesters

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Gareth O’Callaghan has said attendants of the protest against face masks are putting other people’s lives at risk

Gareth O’Callaghan has said attendants of the protest against face masks are putting other people’s lives at risk

Gareth O’Callaghan has said attendants of the protest against face masks are putting other people’s lives at risk

A former RTÉ broadcaster who is battling a neurological condition has hit out at anti-mask protesters as "ignorant, self-centred fools".

Gareth O'Callaghan (59) retired from broadcasting in 2018 after he was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative disorder that initially resembles Parkinson's before attacking various body systems.

Mr O'Callaghan has said anti-mask protesters should think long and hard about the consequences of their actions for those with serious medical conditions.

"It is the most vulnerable who you are scaring," he said.

He issued a special plea, via his Facebook page, for protesters to consider the effect their actions will have on the vulnerable and the elderly.

"Do you honestly think your parents or your children are proud of you for what you did, for behaving like a bunch of ignorant self-centred fools who seem to think there's some sort of solidarity in stupidity? You have been brainwashed," he said.

"Your actions yesterday are a direct slap in the face to our brave frontliners. Many of them continue to risk their lives to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients.

"Some of our frontliners are dead as a result of bravely putting their own lives on the line.

"They died tragically, and now you have the disgusting audacity to go and do exactly what could kill more of them by putting their lives at risk.

"Do you think your kids will tell all their friends or their teachers about your protest when they return to school next week? No they won't. They're mortified by you."

He said anti-mask protesters could find themselves staring into the eyes of a paramedic as they are wheeled in to ICU, critically ill with the virus.

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The protest against face masks

The protest against face masks

The protest against face masks

"All you will be able to see is their eyes because they're wearing PPE gear to protect themselves against catching Covid-19 from you."

"Do all of us who respect life, and how fragile it is and how uncertain these times are, a big favour: Grow up and get some sense.

Cruel

"Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Educate yourselves. Do something decent with your lives that your children will be proud of you for. Stop putting other people's lives at risk."

Mr O'Callaghan suffers from MSA, a progressive illness that neurologists view as being one of the most cruel diseases in the world. People with MSA often contract pneumonia in the later stages of the disease and may suddenly die from cardiac or respiratory issues.

The radio veteran broadcast his last show on Classic Hits in 2018 after he was diagnosed with the condition.