Alan Hughes slams Stephen Donnelly over shocking new panto advice
"He can't do this to us"
There's no doubt that parents are already under a huge amount of strain this Christmas.
The cost of gifts, the fear of Covid disrupting family reunions, and a potential lockdown are causing so much stress.
And now the latest Covid advice has sucked all joy out of the holidays.
Parents have been advised to cut down on their children's socialising. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said they shouldn't even attend pantos this year, despite thousands of parents purchasing tickets.
Speaking about the advice, producer of this year's Aladdin pantomime Alan Hughes said it is harming the industry.
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He told The Irish Times: “We’ve already invested €300,000 into the show and we will be investing more. That’s money myself and Karl are just investing, we’re not big massive producers with big backgrounds. We’re small, local producers who put on our own panto every year and have been for 26 years.
He admitted, "We’ve never seen anything like this.”
“I was listening to the radio and was totally baffled that he could say: 'Yes, theatre will go ahead, panto will go ahead but children under the age of 12 shouldn’t go but let them go to Santa’s Grotto’" the Ireland AM presenter continued.
Hughes said he's aware of the worsening Covid situation but this advice simply doesn't make sense.
“I understand health has to come before everything, but don’t say you can’t go to a controlled environment where every safety measure is in place but then say ‘yes, go to another thing’.
"He [Minister Donnelly] can’t do that to us, he really can’t to the industry."
Hughes stressed, "He needs to clarify that for people. This mixed messaging is putting the whole industry at risk."