North attorney Niall Murphy out of hospital

Niall Murphy celebrates the moment he was taken out of the Intensive Care Unit. Q Radio/Irish News photo.

By Irish Echo Staff

Belfast human rights solicitor Niall Murphy is out of hospital and talking to reporters about his near death due to Covid-19.

Suffice it to say, he would not be in agreement for an early lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Indeed Murphy - who was placed in an induced coma in a Belfast hospital as he fought for his life again the coronavirus - believes that lockdowns should have been in place a lot sooner.

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Murphy, 43, was released from hospital on Monday, April 20 after spending a month in confinement and half of that time in the induced coma.

Mr. Murphy, who, according to an Irish News report, is recuperating at home with his wife Marie and children, said there should have been a quicker response to the virus.

“The lockdown should have happened sooner,” he said, referring to Ireland.

“We are an island at the end of the day, we are best placed to enforce things like a lockdown. We find ourselves where we are so we just need to continue as we are going,” he told reporters in an interview conducted outside his home and at an appropriate social distance

Murphy, according to the Irish News report, hopes society will learn lessons from the current health crisis.

“I just hope there's a societal re-evaluation of everything, the rat race doesn't mean anything. What's important is your health and well-being.”

He said treatment of National Health Service staff, who were forced to strike for a pay rise earlier this year, needed to be reassessed.

“Why should a hedge fund manager get paid millions and a nurse have to stand in the darkness and the wet to protest to keep her patients safe,” he said.

“There's so much in society that needs to be reimagined, and we all know we are enduring something that is a once in a century, lifetime, experience and the money was found almost immediately so we know that austerity is a fraud and we now know there are reserves that can be used to get society through this.

“I genuinely believe there should be a re-evaluation of how we conduct ourselves as a society, and the NHS should be at the centre of that re-imagination,” he told the BBC.

“I would encourage anybody, friends or anybody listening, that you have to abide by these guidelines about social distancing because this is a very aggressive strain of virus.

Murphy, who is well known to Irish American political activists focused on issues pertaining to Northern Ireland, was in New York in early March for a series of engagements and believes he contracted Covid-19 at some point on that trip.