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'They've danced all over my father's grave' - angry son hits out at attendees

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Tragic John McGroddy and his wife Nell both caught virus

Tragic John McGroddy and his wife Nell both caught virus

Tragic John McGroddy and his wife Nell both caught virus

A man who lost his father to Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic has hit out at attendees of the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner.

Dom McGroddy's father John passed away in a Dublin nursing home in early April and only 12 people could attend his funeral.

"I am absolutely furious," Mr McGroddy told the Herald.

"My father died from Covid and we had no event. Only 12 family members attended his funeral. Those who attended the event in Clifden have danced all over his grave."

John and his wife Nell McGroddy, both residents in a Dublin nursing home, tested positive for coronavirus within days of each other.

The couple's adult children watched from behind a glass window while their mother, who has since recovered, wore a mask and gloves to say goodbye to her husband.

"My mother was taken in by nurses to see my father one last time after he died," said Mr McGroddy,

"My sisters could only watch from behind a glass window while she held his hand."

Mr McGroddy said his anger is directed at all those who attended the event on Wednesday night, not just those who have resigned.

"My kids couldn't go to their grandfather's funeral," he said.

"I'm absolutely furious about all this and feel like I'm screaming into a void, because I feel like some of these politicians and high-profile people absolutely don't give a s**t about normal people," he said.

"I just can't believe 80 so-called intelligent people thought this could have been a good idea. They are laughing at us."

And grieving families like the McGroddys aren't the only ones who are furious.

Maureen Kavanagh, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland representing 500 retirement organisations around Ireland, said its members are also outraged.

They were already angry after Taoiseach Micheál Martin went on national airwaves on Tuesday to urge over-70s and vulnerable groups to restrict their movements and social interactions and return to shopping at designated times only.

They were also advised not to use public transport due to a resurgence of the virus.

Many are seniors who have been cocooning since the beginning of the pandemic and are still following the health guidelines and limiting their social interactions with family and friends, she said.

Yet hours later, 80 people including Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary - who has since resigned over the scandal - and other senior politicians attended the Oireachtas Golf Society gala dinner in Connemara against public health advice.

The organisation put out a statement the following day stating they felt 'punished' by the imposition of renewed restrictions on seniors, even though the vast number of new cases of Covid-19 are among those under the age of 45.

Now they are simply livid.

AGHAST

"We've had quite a few calls today from members asking "is there one rule for us and another rule for them?" she said.

"Our members would be quite outraged due to the restrictions imposed on older people," she said.

"It was very disappointing. We need to see leadership and we don't seem to be getting it. We need to see clarity and leadership if we're going to survive this."

Padraig Cribben, CEO of the Vintner's Federation of Ireland, representing publicans whose pubs remain closed said members are "aghast" at the scandal while they are doing everything possible to re-open safely. "We've had a number of members on to us today who are angry," he said.