“We thought, what better topic than this all-consuming event?” – Irish pandemonium Covid response revealed in new book

Journalists Hugh O’Connell and Jack Horgan-Jones said it was “sheer luck” that Nphet was disbanded the same week they submitted their book Pandemonium: Power, Politics and Ireland’s Pandemic.

The book, which details Ireland’s response to Covid-19, with unparalleled access to key decision makers, was launched on Thursday evening at Hodges Figgis bookshop in Dublin’s Dawson Street.

O’Connell, who is political correspondent for the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent, and Mr. Horgan-Jones, political reporter for Irish weathersaid they thought the sources were more candid in their interviews for the book because they knew it wouldn’t be released until 2022.

“I think people realized that this book was an important thing that we were doing, writing the first draft of the story, finally the second draft – the newspapers are the first – but we really stressed to them that ‘it was important to get your opinion on this,’ Mr O’Connell said on Thursday evening.

“When we told them it wasn’t going to be published until 2022, I think that helped because people knew it wasn’t going to go all over the place in a newspaper.”

Mr Horgan-Jones added: “We are deeply indebted to our sources. They didn’t have to talk to us, but they did, and they did it in the public interest.

The duo said they wanted the book to feel like they had one voice, so although they split sections, they also reviewed each other’s work and added additional details.

“Our style is quite different from the others, but we kind of took pieces ourselves and then the other would peek at them and write on them,” O’Connell said.

“I hope the book speaks with one author’s voice. That was kind of the idea – you wouldn’t necessarily be able to identify which are Jack’s chapters and which are mine.

The journalists said they decided to write a book about the pandemic because it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, story they will cover in their professional careers.

“We thought if there wasn’t a book in this all-consuming event, which impacted everyone in the country, every home in Ireland, then what better subject for a book?” said Mr. Horgan-Jones.

“What better use of journalism than to help people understand what happened, so that’s what we set out to do.”

He added that it was “pure luck” that their book was submitted the same week that Nphet disbanded and that he is happy they were able to draw a line under this time of the pandemic.

Reporters said they were worried people wouldn’t want to read Chaos due to Covid fatigue.

Mr Horgan-Jones added: “But we think it’s a good book and we can write a good book, so let’s not guess the market or how we think it might work, we just got into it. the project.”

Jessica C. Bell