Children and Youth Affairs, Dáil Debates, Justice

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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%.

Agriculture/Animal Welfare, Animal Welfare, Dáil Issues

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine if he will suspend live exports to Libya in view of the escalation of fighting.

– Clare Daly T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 8 May, 2019.

REPLY

I am aware of the campaign to stop live animal exports to Libya.

Live exports are a critical part of Ireland’s livestock industry.  They play a significant role in stimulating price competition and providing an alternative market outlet for farmers.  The Department facilitates this trade, recognising its critical importance to the agri-sector, while ensuring that live animal exports meet the highest welfare standards.  In 2018, the combined total value of live animal exports to the Irish economy was €161 million (€110 million for cattle; €49 million for pigs; €2 million for sheep), according to Bord Bia.

Ireland has agreed health certificates for the export of live animals (cattle, pigs, sheep and goats) with 18 third country markets. Last November, the Department reached agreement with Libya on a new veterinary health certificate for the export of breeding cattle, and an amended veterinary certificate for the export of fattening and slaughter cattle.  In 2018, 5,500 cattle were exported to Libya, representing approximately 2% of total live exports of cattle for the year.  To date in 2019, 1,900 cattle have been exported to the country, representing approximately 1% of total live exports of cattle for the year to date.

For its part,  Ireland continues to work closely with other EU Member State and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) with a view to improving animal welfare practices worldwide. In this regard, Ireland has reaffirmed its on-going commitment to animal welfare through additional OIE multi-annual financial assistance (€75,000 per annum over the period 2017-20) to support its activities to enhance animal welfare worldwide.

Dáil Issues, Education, Human Rights