Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

We need travel bans in Ireland; We need travel bans between Ireland and Great Britain – ZeroCoVid Ireland is the way forward

with 3 comments

Decisions made by the Dublin Belfast and London governments threaten the lives and health of everybody living in Ireland. Solutions exist.

On December 21 Claire Byrne, RTÉ Radio 1 journalist, asked the right question : do we need a travel ban in and out of Northern Ireland, a CoVid-19 hot-spot? Do we need to seal the border? Is this proposed measure any different, operationally, from a Kildare travel ban some weeks ago? This was an internal 26 County state ban – and it worked. The virus in the north currently runs at four times the rate of the 26 Counties.

“The NI Executive has voted against imposing a travel ban from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.

In a late-night vote, Sinn Féin and the SDLP backed the move but Alliance, the DUP and Ulster Unionists voted against.

The executive later unanimously backed plans to issue new guidance against all but essential travel between Northern Ireland, GB and the Irish Republic.” https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-55406075

Message to Sinn Féin and the SDLP – the Stormont Government has voted for mass murder.

Do the honourable thing – resign from the coalition government, bring down Stormont.

Shame on the DUP, Alliance Party and UUP. A public backlash is developing rapidly – Already Alliance Party representatives, such as the North Down Westminster MP Stephen Farry, are publicly trying to backtrack.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann votes against Great Britain travel ban – Mass Murder via Belfast Airport and the Larne-Stranraer Ferry

On December 21 Claire Byrne, RTÉ Radio 1 journalist, asked the right question : do we need a travel ban in and out of Northern Ireland, a CoVid-19 hot-spot? Do we need to seal the border? Is this proposed measure any different, operationally, from a Kildare travel ban some weeks ago? This was an internal 26 County state ban – and it worked. The virus in the north currently runs at four times the rate of the 26 Counties. https://www.rte.ie/radio1/today-with-claire-byrne/

The answer to Claire Byrne’s question is Yes, Yes, Yes. Panellist David Cullinane of Sinn Féin waffled wishy-washy. He and his party are mudguards for their coalition partners in the Stormont Coalition. They talk the talk, they need to walk the walk. Ultimatum time : anti-virus action north and south – now – and bring down the Stormont Coaliton – now.

Stormont Must Go

Seal the Irish Border to save people’s lives, and limit virus spread?

A correspondent asks : “Does it need to be a travel ban ‘in and out of NI’? Wouldn’t a 5k limit on any travel across the island achieve the same effect?”

An answer :

“that is a valid way to describe the same measure. But we should not play around with words, which has the effect of disguising the real world. The fact is that the Stormont Belfast government has, for many months, done a worse job than the Leinster House Dublin government, who are not angels. The time for action and ultimatums is now. Use the precautionary principle. Concretely – if SF et al demand this action – now – and the DUP blocks – SF et al should bring down the Stormont Government. A Dublin government 5k travel ban, without similar action across the border, is like pouring water into a leaky sieve. Failure to act now means unnecessarily huge numbers of people dying or severely ill in the next few months. The Stormont Government is already guilty of mass murder – a blame game between Stormont Coalition parties is a waste of time.”

Arlene Foster Must Go

ZeroCoVid Ireland

A majority of people in Ireland supports the goal of Zero Covid. Government strategy is disconnected from the public which backs stricter measures. The Independent Scientific Advisory Group (ISAG) promotes an effective practical policy : https://www.isagcovid19.org/

On Monday December 7 Tomás Ryan wrote the article below. https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/silent-majority-supports-goal-of-zero-covid-1.4428981

What do people think we should do next? It’s reasonable to assume that most want to prevent a third wave of Covid-19 infections. But it’s not enough to assume – you have to ask people.

Scientists are not brilliant at listening. Communication is bilateral, and good science communication should be bilateral. If public engagement doesn’t happen in both directions, medical professionals and scientists risk seeming more like preachers or prefects.

There is extremely encouraging news about the vaccine rollout. We hear noises from the Government that vaccination will begin in January. But population immunity requires over 70 per cent of people to be vaccinated. The consensus, from sources ranging from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) to consultancies such as McKinsey, is that we can optimistically hope for widespread vaccination by mid/late summer 2021, though it could be autumn or winter before normality returns. This also seems to be the expectation of the public.

What do people really think? Look at the data. There’s much out there, including the Amárach opinion tracker commissioned by the Department of Health, the Economic and Social Research Institute analysis; and the Central Statistics Office surveys. Recent CSO data (week of November 18th) showed that, while 7 per cent of people expect normality to return in under six months, 33 per cent believe it will take six to 12 months, and 60 per cent predict one to two years or longer.

Besides having pragmatic expectations, the public show clear support for public health restrictions. CSO surveys showed that 71 per cent of people believe Level 5 was appropriate, while 10 per cent say it didn’t go far enough. As of November 30th, department data suggests that 61 per cent of people approved of the Government reaction to the pandemic, while a further 23 per cent believed it didn’t go far enough. On social distancing measures, 78 per cent of people believed they were about right, while 14 per cent thought they were too weak. There’s good evidence of social cohesion, as 61 per cent of people believe everybody or almost everybody was following guidelines.

Return to normal

Furthermore, there are strong indications that the public was willing to go further. Some 75 per cent of people thought Ireland was trying to return to normal either “a bit too quickly or “much too quickly”.

3 Responses

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  1. Dear Tomás,

    I am a journalist who is investigating the CPI/Worker’s Party with a particular interest in neo-Stalinism, links to DPRK and other authoritarian regimes. The article’s focus will be the Communist youth, who are leaning more and more towards tankie-ism; the dogmatic tendency to support totalitarian regimes in the name of communism. Your articles and comments about the Official IRA / SFWP and the recent splits were certainly useful in providing a background and in characterizing the Workers’ Party; its decision-making, the properties owned by the Workers’ Party, key figures, etc..

    I am interested in learning more about the subject and what links exist today between the party’s authoritarian tendencies, the party’s funding, leadership, its corruption, failure to modernize (i.e. to break with Stalinist tradition) and ‘Group B’. You can contact me at +32 470 58 31 74 on WhatsApp if you are up for a chat or for providing information. I would appreciate it very much.

    László

    Jan 16, 2021 at 5:39 am


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