Pat O’Mahony is an award-winning radio and television producer who has worked for RTÉ, BBC and Channel 4. He runs the Off Message blog and podcast. He was also COVID-19 positive. Or maybe he wasn’t. He thinks he was, and so does his doctor. The test result was ‘undetected’. It’s a bit like how ‘not guilty’ isn’t the same thing as ‘innocent’.

Click on the player below to play the podcast audio (download: 22:06; 13MB; MP3), or scroll down for the video.


“Whatever I had wasn’t a cold and it wasn’t the flu”, Pat explains. The symptoms he describes match the accounts of other sufferers, including an initial period of apparent recovery, followed by a second wave.

“It was just really taking it out of me; I felt nauseous; I felt sore all over, fever etc”

By this stage, the criteria for testing had changed, and his doctor told him he qualified to get tested, which he did at the LÉ Samuel Beckett docked at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin. By this time he had been self-isolating for almost 2 weeks.

He was surprised to get a phone-call just four days later to say his test was negative, although his doctor later clarified that it was undetected.

Having self-isolated for almost three weeks, Pat is delighted to be given the all-clear to take a walk, and grateful to friends who did his shopping for him while he was in quarantine.

We also talked about the media, which has seen some fundamental changes in work-practices in response to the crisis, with new technology allowing presenters to broadcast from their homes. Pat has recently blogged about this, and about the remarkable cooperation between media and government in the face of a national crisis. It’s a subject he intends to discuss further in an upcoming edition of the Off-Message Podcast.

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