Archive for the ‘Features’ Category
Statement from Clare Daly, TD
It has been brought to my attention that some political opponents have been orchestrating a campaign in an attempt to portray me as anti-vaccine on the basis of Written Questions I’ve tabled to the Minister for Health. For the record and for the avoidance of any doubt, my position on vaccination is as follows:
I have tabled approximately 4,500 quesions since this Dáil convened in 2016, and am one of the top questioners of Ministers in the Dáil on a whole range of topics. For example, I’ve tabled over 40 questions on salmon aquaculture since 2016, 30 or more on seagulls, and 62 questions containing the word ‘prisons’ or ‘prisoners’ (and many more on prison issues in general). In the last two and half months alone, I’ve asked at least 14 questions around foster care and residential services for young people.
I fully support vaccination as an important and hugely valuable public health initiative; myself and my family have received every vaccination going (including the HPV vaccination where applicable). However I also believe that to ensure public confidence in such an important public health initiative that TDs should ensure that the Minister publicly address any concerns people might have in an effort to dispel them. Shutting down debate unfortunately leads to a belief that something is being hidden.
In general, we need better public education with regard to medicine and science, and the best approach possible to public health communication. There must also be a no-fault vaccine damage compensation scheme in place to deal with the tiny minority* of persons who do experience side-effects or harms from vaccines (as happened in the Pandemrix case). Such a scheme is in the current Programme for Government, and was recommended by the Oireachtas Health Committee in 2001. The Vaccine Damage Steering Group re-iterated that recommendation in 2009. The Government has not, to date, acted on this policy, regrettably.
Clare Daly, TD
* Figures from the US no-fault vaccine damage compensation scheme show that for every million vaccine doses eligible for compensation that were distributed between 2006 and 2016, the court compensated one injury victim. Receiving a vaccine is far far less dangerous than staying unvaccinated. The tetanus vaccine, for example, causes a life-threatening allergic reaction in at most 0.0006% of people who get the shot. The U.S. case fatality rate from tetanus, by contrast, is 13.2%.
The forgiveness we received in 1953
bears no comparison to the situation Greece
has put itself in today. Whatever
criticisms might be levelled
at the German governments
of the first half of the last century,
they didn’t waste good money
on crazy schemes to allow
the school caretaker retire at fifty five,
but invested wisely
in long term infrastructure
and engineering projects:
tanks to pacify Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia;
enough gas canisters to almost
carry out their apparently impossible
election promises; V-2 rockets
with ‘England’ written on them.
My predecessor, whatever else
may be said of him, didn’t
squander our nation’s treasure giving
free kebabs and ouzo to officials
of the Ministry of Transport as they woke
from their compulsory afternoon nap,
but shopped around frugally
for enough excellent leather boots
to properly police the streets
of Prague, Cracow, Bucharest, Minsk,
Liege, Amsterdam, Lyon;
after much haggling and complaint
purchased, at ridiculously miniscule prices,
the millions of Stahlhelm helmets
spent in our valiant attempt
to annex the Soviet oilfields in the Caucasus.
Though it didn’t come to exact fruition,
we died trying, and took enough of them with us
to make it almost worth it.
Go cause a nice world war,
my little olive eating friend,
and in its aftermath, we’ll talk.
Play your cards with sufficient insanity,
all across the map, while wearing outfits
of the required eccentricity
and you’ll find our terms
*term of endearment used to refer to Angela Merkel by her supporters. Means “Mum”.
Students from schools across Ireland are joining the global Schools Strike for Climate Action
next Friday 15th March. As well as marches in Dublin and Cork there will be strike events outside local authority offices in counties
from Tralee to Donegal, Meath to Galway, and locally at school gates across the country.
This global strike was called by the 16 year-old schoolgirl
Greta Thunberg who began striking outside the Swedish Parliament last August.
By Kevin Higgins
after Carolyn Forché
Beamed into one’s living room via satellite,
or framed in syndicated photographs
on the quality papers’ foreign pages, even
their black or missing front teeth
have a strange beauty.
The shanty town dwellers of La Paz,
in their hand woven red and green ponchos,
carry themselves in a fashion
which puts to shame the post office queue
scraggy mother of two, with change
in her slovenly wallet for lottery tickets,
but not shampoo.
Nothing against the locals.
But even the skeletal colosseum cats have a grace
which the one I ran over on my way
to this morning’s Amnesty
International meeting absolutely lacked.
The ongoing pain of the Yazidi women
and the entire Choctaw nation (every generation)
is best struggled with over a fair trade salad
in one of the more radical tea shops
on Sandymount Strand.
In comparison, one admits,
our local Others – with their dole
day drunkenness, and lack of imagination
which has seen them prosaically wander the roads
these past thousand years – just
don’t cut the whole grain mustard.
When they start mouthing Civil Rights
and municipal water cannon, or
police batons get over enthusiastic
on their irresponsibly positioned skulls,
people like me will feel forced to pass by
on the other side, checking our messages
for pictures of unfamiliars being