Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Health Issues’ Category

Socialists and Coalition with Sinn Féin – Colm Breathnach, Independent Left

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Colm Breatnach makes an important contribution here

SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

Sinn Féin Oireachtas and Stormont Members on the steps of Leinster House, Kildare Street

Is a Sinn Féin controlled left government in the 26 County bit of Ireland possible or likely? Right now, a general election electing the next Dáil can be delayed until February 2025. The current FFFGGG coalition (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Greens and Gombeens) has a comfortable majority and will not voluntarily cut and run – unless it is forced to change course. Reliable opinion surveys show that, if a general election was held soon Sinn Féin is likely to increase its number of Dáil seats – but the current government would retain a majority. There is more detail on this important “technicality” in a note at the end of this article. John Meehan May 11 2022


SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

The experience of Syriza, Greece warns against coalition with Sinn Féin

As the likelihood of a Sinn Féin led government grows, the prospect that the government might include radical left parties as coalition partners looms. But should socialists take up roles in government in coalition with Sinn Féin? Are there circumstances where this might prove to be necessary? Obligatory even? Now is the time to debate this issue, rather than being rushed into hastily made post-election decisions that could have a disastrous effect for the left in Ireland.

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Abortion Rights in the USA Shredded to Bits – Supreme Court Likely to Overturn Historic 1973 Roe V Wade Ruling

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The USA Supreme Court, dominated by far-right Justices such as Donald Trump nominee Amy Coney-Barrett, is likely to overturn the constitutional right to access an abortion. Joan McKiernan, an Irish-American activist, reports from New York.


We Won’t Go Back!

This was one of the slogans shouted by angry protesters gathered in the thousands in cities across the US after the leak of the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn the constitutional right to abortion provided in the Roe v Wade case. We know the Supreme Court as the place to go to fight for rights. But this time the Court is taking away a right – to control our bodies, which is fundamental to the quest for women’s independence. 

Diane Feeley, speaking at a rally in Detroit, explained what we fought for fifty years ago. “Before 1973, the women’s movement called for free abortion on demand, 24-hour childcare available to all, opposition to sterilization abuse and equal pay for equal work. We testified at legislative hearings, brought class-action lawsuits, organized speak outs and tribunals, picketed and marched, built networks of support for those who needed underground abortions, told our stories and reached out to women internationally.” Unfortunately, the middle class dominated feminist movement settled for much less in the Roe decision. This based the right to abortion on the tenuous notion of privacy implied in the 14th Amendment, rooted in the end of slavery and Reconstruction, which prohibits states from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property without due process”.

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Ireland’s National Maternity Hospital – Questions over “murky” new company’s role

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Doctor Peter Boylan – a former master of the National Maternity Hospital – and Róisín Shortall TD – co-leader of the Social Democrats party – are leading voices in a chorus of criticism directed against a proposed new Irish National Maternity Hospital. Their detailed policies on this issue are below. The source is the Irish Examiner newspaper, May 2 and 3 2022 issues. https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/politics/arid-40864076.html

These two relentless campaigners have focussed on “murky” Vatican plans to control women’s healthcare in Ireland. A number of Dáil political parties positioned on the left have aligned themselves with Shortall and Boylan’s critical campaign – Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, plus others such as Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly. A political firestorm erupted this week, which has frightened the Green Party, a junior partner in the ruling FFFGGG coalition headed by Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin. A government plan to finalise Holy See control of the new Maternity Hospital is currently “paused” for two weeks after Green Party TD’s such as Neasa Hourigan (Dublin Central) responded to growing public opposition.

John Meehan May 5 2022

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Prevent Vatican Control of Ireland’s New National Maternity Hospital

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According to an Irish Times report (May 4 2022) the Dublin government is delaying implementation of a scheme to allow Vatican control over a new National Maternity Hospital in Ireland :

two members of the HSE board, Prof Deirdre Madden and Dr Sarah McLoughlin, dissented from a decision to approve the legal documents.

Green Party TDs Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello were among dozens of party members who wrote to the party’s Ministers to “implore” them to block the proposed moved.

Opposition politicians yesterday called on the Government to delay approval of the move before an Oireachtas debate on the matter.

Anne Conway reports : “The New Maternity Hospital Deal is rotten to the core. The new St Vincent’s Holdings Company that will run the new hospital being associated with The Panama Papers shows the immorality of it all. The economic brutality of the religious who were involved in instigating the new NMH handover is mirrored in their brutality to women and children in their care in industrial schools,Magdalen Laundries etc. Sexual abuse occured so paedophiles were among them. How can the Government proceed with handing over a 1 billion plus state of the art hospital to these people?”

Marie O’Connor’s detailed article (see below) gives readers the facts – a shady business deal is designed to prevent the new National Maternity Hospital being public and secular.

A public demonstration occurs on Saturday May 7 at 2.00pm outside the gates of Leinster House, Kildare Street – notice is below.

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Aggressive suppression and zero tolerance of Covid are crucial – Damning Attack on Irish Government CoVid-19 Pandemic Policy

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A number of medical experts and Zero-CoVid campaigners – notably Tomás Ryan – have published an Irish Times letter ((Monday January 17 2022) criticizing the “let it rip” pandemic policy of the Dublin government. The letter directly responds to an Irish Times columnist – Senator Michael McDowell, a former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice – who says the Leinster House administration “should err on the side of keeping society open”

We held up New Zealand and other countries as leaders. They were, and still are, better off than we are in the choices they made across every possible metric of success. The deaths per million in each country is evidence of this: China, four; New Zealand, 11; Taiwan, 36; Australia, 97; Iceland, 106; South Korea, 120; Norway, 251; Finland, 301; and Ireland, 1,205.

Paul Murphy TD warms :

The government seem to have adopted the Boris Johnson ‘let it rip’ strategy. With half a million cases a week, they should at least be providing FFP2 masks free in schools, public transport and other high-density settings, as well as proper HEPA filters and ventilation measures to bring this under control. Instead, they are gambling with peoples health by changing the close contact rules. Let’s not forget up to 1 in 10 people get long Covid according to some studies. The more cases we let spread, the more people could be permanently affected.

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Ashling Murphy – Vigils All Over Ireland

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Vigils all Over Ireland, 4pm, Friday January 14 – plus photos of the large gathering outside the gates of Dáil Éireann, Kildare Street

She was going for a run

Dublin, Called by the National Women’s Council of Ireland

RTÉ reporter Samantha Libreri interviews a protester

Kildare – many venues – thanks to Brendan Young for the information

Derry Vigil, called by the Alliance for Choice

RTÉ News Report :

Gardaí investigating the murder of Ashling Murphy have renewed their appeal for information.

Ms Murphy, a 23-year-old primary school teacher, was attacked and killed on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly on Wednesday afternoon.

Gardaí said they are particularly interested in knowing more about a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/ green front forks.

https://www.rte.ie/news/2022/0114/1273607-tullamore-murder-investigation/

Images, Ashling Murphy Vigil, Dáil Éireann, Kildare Street, January 14 2022

Ailbhe Smyth addresses the crowd

Mandatory vaccination: much ado, red herring, or getting it wrong?

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Guest post by Des Derwin

If mandatory vaccination is a delicate issue then why is it being raised by the left (statements yesterday by Sinn Féin and loud blasts from People Before Profit)? Statements yesterday from the left assert that the government wants to bring this in, and the statements oppose it vehemently. The source of the idea seems to be a public health one, with apparently mixed and tentative views emanating from NPHET (the National Public Health Emergency Team). The government, or at least the head of the government, the Taoiseach, has said straight out that he is opposed to mandatory vaccination. The genesis of this issue could well be the main front page story in the ‘Irish Times’ (January 10 2021) and its typical and infuriating mode of creating stories out of unattributed sources to push a line or float a try-on (though in this case there are – suitably leaked – NPHET minutes as substance). If anything the same story indicates that the government might be considering the lifting of restrictions – mandates – on pub and restaurant times and cutting down isolation days for close contacts (to reboot the labour force).

It is said that mandatory vaccination would push a minority of the working class into the arms of the fascists. On the contrary, and quite apart from the existence of vaccination compulsions already and of a minority already in the mental clutches of the far right, supporting the ‘right’ of the unvaccinated and of anti-vaxxers to free access to wherever they want is encouraging them into the arms of the fascists by legitimising their position. And giving oxygen to the position of the fascists who have made this, and other anti-public health measures, their main and most successful appeal to a new audience. Socialists need to be clear and firm, to explain why vaccination (taken up by 94%) is safe and socially essential, and how the far right are misleading and deluding people through well orchestrated and well resourced disinformation campaigns.

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Improving Science Literacy – And Supporting Mass Vaccination to Fight CoVid-19

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This blog offers two very good quotations and an illustration to act as a helpful political and personal guide. Origin of the quotations? I do not personally know the authors. I wish to thank a Greek comrade, Kostas Skordoulis, who started the relevant Facebook discussion. The cartoon is just brilliant.

No. Most lay people don’t have the tools to “question the science”. They are just deluding themselves. Just look at any flat earther video. The emphasis should be on improving science literacy so people can learn to identify media misrepresentation of studies, or how to spot weak or obviously flawed studies, or to follow trustworthy sources, instead of thinking they are some modern day Galileo.

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‘There’s a pandemic!’ Covid mandates, restrictions and the left

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Guest post by Des Derwin

We can all agree that a raft of things are required that the system is reluctant to give and that we must campaign for: vaccine justice towards the global south, wage support for closed jobs, real ventilation in workplaces, an end to deforestation and desertification and intensive farming leading to zoonotic crossovers, provision of personal protective equipment, decent health services, etc., etc.

I’m bending the stick and splitting from what seems a widely held miscalculation on the international left about immediately responding to this massively lethal pandemic.

I support mandatory and legally enforceable public health measures and restrictions when necessary, just like I support workplace safety legislation.

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RTÉ, Censorship, and Irish Unity – Kieran Allen demolishes identitarian gibberish promoted by the Dublin Establishment

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In a recent Tomás Ó Flatharta Blog post – RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell – https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/03/22/rte-broadcaster-claire-byrne-censors-joe-brolly-who-criticised-the-reactionary-politics-of-dup-westminster-mp-gregory-campbell/ “Identitarian Gibberish” is targeted. This is part of a “distinct agenda” promoted by the management of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ. The inevitable result is censorship of people promoting a vision of post-partition Ireland which can destroy the “carnival of reaction” created by the 1922 Treaty ending the heroic 1919-21 War of Independence. Writing in “Rebel News” the author and activist Kieran Allen adds extremely useful context. His article is reproduced in full here.

When RTÉ puts on a special programme about a united Ireland, you know that big changes are underway. The partition of Ireland is now under question. RTÉ, however, has a distinct agenda and that was exemplified in one dramatic incident. http://www.rebelnews.ie/2021/03/23/rte-censorship-irish-unity/?fbclid=IwAR1vMTLrz5rsPP2awNgaLDDN1Qycb1Z1PtfpcNbHUgUOgB48vKgrvyBvcIY

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