Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘CoronaVirus’ Category

Unelected Irish Government signs letter to European Commission advocating legalized crime – Airlines Robbing Money – Cancelled Flights, No Refunds

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Airline companies collect money from passengers who book a flight, often months in advance. Like all other merchants, operators like Aer Lingus and Ryanair are supposed to refund customers when they cannot supply the service. That is the law.

Paul Murphy TD asks : “ It seems Ryanair may be using dirty tricks to delay refunds. This person was unable to get their refund as the computer said the CAPTCHA was wrong. It looks right to me though, what do you think? Are there others who have had trouble getting a refund from Ryanair?”

Ryanair’s Never-Ending Loop

A customer supplies the answer :

The CAPTCHA is not the problem. When I applied for the refund it said:  
“Sorry we can’t process your application at the moment. Please try  
again later.” When I tried it again I get the message about the  
CAPTCHA. When I clicked on OK, the CAPTCHA changed. I put in the new  
one, and the message appeared: “Sorry we can’t process…” You’re in a  
never-ending loop.

If you are in this position, don’t waste your time on one of these never-ending loops. Just like “Customer Information” Phone Services where you never get a refund – instead you are put on hold, asked to wait, told to press “One for Gibberish, Two for Garbage….” and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

Extend Health and Safety Authority powers on social distancing in Irish Workplaces – The Bad Example of Keeling’s Company

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Paul Murphy TD :

If you walk more than 2km from home you face a jail sentence.

Yet companies forcing workers to work shoulder to shoulder without PPE face no inspections, no enforcement, no fines.

The Health and Safety Authority must start investigating complaints of companies breaking the Covid-19 guidelines. They should start with Keelings.

The Irish Examiner Reports :

TDs have called for extended powers for the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in order to ensure social distancing in work places.

There is currently no state agency which has the statutory authority to carry out workplace inspections to ensure that appropriate physical distancing measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19 are in place.

Confusion has arisen over who would monitor sites after Rise-People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy says he was “passed from Billy to Jack” while trying to ensure that fruit producer, Keeling’s workers in Co Wexford, who have been flown in to Ireland from other states in the EU for seasonal work, could adhere to guidelines for their own safety.

The HSA has said that currently it has no powers in overseeing the Covid-19 guidelines, despite Business Minister Heather Humphreys stating in the Dáil last week that she was “talking to her officials about it”.

Previously, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the HSE would oversee such guidelines.

However, the HSE Environmental Unit has reportedly stated to Mr Murphy that it is not their role either.

Mr Murphy written to Minister Humphreys to urge the Government to reconsider the issue as a matter of urgency, as a number of worksites, including 35 “essential” public housing construction sites, have restarted work with government permission, while others expect restrictions on other construction and other workplaces will be loosened when the current run of guidelines runs out on May 5.

— Read on www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/call-for-extended-hsa-powers-on-social-distancing-996293.html

Some people may be surprised that a government headed by Fine Gael Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is unwilling to take action against the Keeling’s Company – an explanation can be found in this image :

Taoiseach Varadkar Campaigning With Owners of Keeling’s Fruit Picker Company in 2015

The Fine Gael Government was lobbied in February 2018 by Keeling’s Boss, the Chief Executive Caroline Keeling, who wants tax laws changed so that her family’s personal profits can be dramatically increased. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeling’s Fruit Pickers’ Company Places 579 Workers in CoVid-19 Danger – Irish State Authorities Dawdle While Disease Gallops Out of Control

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  • Paul Murphy TD (RISE) “Passed From Billy to Jack” Over Keeling’s Fruit Pickers’ Company’s Failure to Protect its Workers
  • Keelings: Minister Humphreys must give HSA powers to protect workers’ health
  • Advice from two Ministers: go to HSE, yet HSE says it “has no statutory role”

“I have been passed from Billy to Jack in trying to get someone to inspect Keelings to ensure their workers are safe. The HSA has said that they have no powers in overseeing the Covid-19 guidelines, although Minister Humphreys said in a reply to me that she’s talking to her officials about it. The Minister for Finance explicitly said that it is the HSE which oversees them. However, now the HSE has said it is not their role. I have written to Minister Humphreys to urge the government to to urgently address this by extending the powers of the HSA, so Keelings workers and others can be protected.”

Video of engagement with Minister Donohoe in Dáil on 16 April:

https://www.facebook.com/paulmurphytd/videos/277643093252182/.

Keeling’s, Ryanair, Put Workers in Danger

Copy below of letter sent to Minister Heather Humphreys this morning:

Read the rest of this entry »

An Evil King Rules an Afflicted Land: Coronavirus and the Depression in America – New Politicsm

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American Author and Activist Dan La Botz writes a grim assessment of the CoronaVirus Epidemic in America, and the related economic depression.

We in America live in what resembles some medieval fairy tale. An evil and maniacal king rules the plague stricken land. The wicked lords in the corrupt parliament rob the public coffers to enrich their cronies. The tribunes of the people, mostly venal and foolish, are alternately deceived or suborned by the King and the lords. Meanwhile many people are sick and many dying. The bodies pile up. The soothsayers blame it on the foreigners and plan pogroms. The mills have stopped; the inns and taverns have closed. Peasants rebel here and there but the plague prevents a general rebellion. Word has it the situation is the same in neighboring kingdoms all around.

That’s a fairy tale of course. What’s the reality? The United States now has nearly one million coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths, more of both than any country in the world. We have an unemployment rate of 20 percent, the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The two together represent what is perhaps the greatest crisis in American history, an absolutely unprecedented event: a catastrophe. And it may only have just begun.

As the coronavirus has swept across the country bringing illness to hundreds of thousands and killing tens of thousands, Americans have been shocked by the failure of government, business, and the health system. As the number of sick mounted, there were not enough hospitals, not enough hospital beds, not enough ICUs, not enough ventilators. Hospital personnel have lacked gowns, masks, and respirators. As hospital workers fall sick or die there are not enough health workers to replace them. Some seven thousand elderly died in private nursing homes. The disease is now rampant in prisons. It is rife in meat packing plants, with 725 cases at the Smithfield plant in South Dakota. Twenty-six U.S. Navy ships have crews with coronavirus, including 850 sick on the huge 5,000-crewmember U.S.S. Roosevelt. Everywhere essential workers—bus drivers, garbage collectors, grocery cashiers, delivery workers—became sick and many have died, and neither business nor the governments that regulate these companies acted quickly to save them.
— Read on newpol.org/an-evil-king-rules-an-afflicted-land-coronavirus-and-the-depression-in-america/

The most depressing part of this analysis comes at the end, where the activities and analysis of the largest organisation on the American Activist Left, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is described. Read the rest of this entry »

“What Use Is it to Teach People About the Evil of Overcrowding When Their Wages Will Not Permit Them A Decent House?” – James Connolly in 1915

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James Connolly in 1915 ridicules “Medical Authorities” advice on combating a TB Epidemic – 105 Years Later, in 2020, Irish “Medical Authorities” Follow the Same Script. It is the same in most other countries.

The Chief Medical Officer has said the National Public Health Emergency Team has entered the weekend with a growing sense of concern about compliance with the strict travel restrictions and social distancing measures that been in place since 27 March.

Dr Tony Holohan said compliance with the restrictions over the next ten days was critical to the control of the coronavirus.

He said the sense of concern among his team has been growing over the last week as evidence of some slackening of adherence social restrictions materialised.

He said the situation remained that he would not currently recommend the restrictions be relaxed given the behaviour of the disease.

https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/0425/1134732-holohan-coronavirus-restrictions-compliance/

Notes on Misery and Mortality :

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Private hospital deal will cost the Irish State €115 million per month – CoronaVirus: Confidential deal to take over private hospitals “expected to cost State €115m per month” – Irish Times Report

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It looks like the Irish Government is paying far more money to private hospitals compared to the British Government.

Irish Government Uses CoronaVirus Crisis to Pay Private Hospitals

Many of these hospitals are owned by Denis O’Brien & Larry Goodman who made their fortunes from sweetheart deals. In fact, some of these deals have ended up the subject of costly tribunals. But now we are told to just take them at their word that this is a not-for-profit deal? If it is, why does it seem to be so much more expensive than the deal struck by the NHS with private hospitals in the UK?

The government should publish today the full details of this deal, including a break down of the costs. The private hospitals should open their books, so we can see the real costs, rather than just pay them whatever they say.

Rather than lining the pockets of Denis O’Brien & Larry Goodman, what we really need is to bring these private hospitals permanently into the public system, to build a unified, single-tier National Health Service.

Open the books. – Source LetUsRise.ie

Paul Murphy TD has raised this matter in Dáil Éireann, and has followed up with a letter addressed to Acting Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

I wrote to the Minister of Finance on Monday requesting more information about the deal with the private hospitals. I still haven’t heard back. So far at least €90 million has been handed over. We need a break down of those costs published.

Read the rest of this entry »

Covid-19 restrictions Necessary – Irish Government’s Hesitation Showed Priority it Places in Profits over Lives

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No Border News (NBN) No Borders News is publishing a series of interviews about Covid 19 in many different parts of the world.

Jessy Ní Cheallaigh answers NBN’s questions about the Coronavirus Epidemic in Ireland.

Please provide a brief biography for yourself and any links to resources or websites you would like included in your interview.

My name is Jessy Ní Cheallaigh. I’m a 22 year old woman living in Ireland. I’m a socialist activist and a final year student studying Communications through the language of Irish in NUIG, Galway City. I’m a member of RISE (Radical, Internationalist, Socialist, Environmentalist) a democratic socialist political group. https://www.letusrise.ie/

Above from left: Dave Murphy; Jessy Ní Cheallaigh, Paul Murphy TD, Kay Keane and Nicole McCarthy

1. Briefly describe the state of the pandemic in your country or city. How many people are infected? How many have died? What do experts expect in the coming weeks in terms of how fast the contagion will spread.

At the current date (14/04/2020) the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland is 10,647. Death toll has reached 365 as 31 more deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. In Northern Ireland, 76 new cases have been registered and 6 more people have died from the coronavirus. The tally in the North now stands at 118 deaths and 1,882 confirmed cases. 12,529 confirmed cases on the island with a death toll of 483. Overall Ireland has made a decent effort to flatten the curve as the spread is not as rapid as it is in other countries. The government announced that there has been a “very high level of compliance” with restrictions on non-essential travel over the bank holiday weekend. However there is still concern amongst experts over the “clusters” of the virus present in nursing homes around the country with very little healthy/qualified staff to help prevent spread. As of Saturday 11 April, there have been 6.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Ireland. These figures however are definitely not 100% accurate as there have been problems with testing in the lack of testing kits available/bought as well as the huge backlog in test results that have yet to be processed. When testing was first opened up it was under the understanding that anyone who suspected they had the virus could be tested, when large numbers of test were coming back negative they changed it so that the only people who were referred for testing were those who had two or more of the most common symptoms of the virus or those who were high at risk (immuno-compromised/underlying conditions etc.) This resulted in over 40,000 people being taken off the waiting list who then had to reapply. Lots of reports state that some of these people still haven’t received results and that was just under a month ago.

2. What practical measures has your national government taken to respond to the crisis? Have they acted responsibly or were they unprepared? Briefly describe measures your government is taking now to contain the virus and treat people infected with Covid-19. Is there a state of emergency, are schools closed, etc.?

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Can Words Force Covid-19 Nursing Home Action? Right To Die With Dignity – Right To Work With Dignity

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The direct testimony below broadcasts the horrible reality of nursing homes. The political establishment sugar-coats the phenomenon. This helps the owners to financially, socially, and politically benefit from a sick system.
I saw my mother waste away for three years in a nursing home, and chose to see the reality. It is an an approach that focuses us on the need to fight for better alternatives for us all in the very near future.

We need a system where we all have the right to die with dignity. Workers in these institutions have a right to live with dignity. These two principles go hand in hand.

The source is the Facebook Page of Honor Heffernan – a nursing home worker courageously offers direct testimony – we must support and encourage others to do likewise – it is the only effective way to confront and solve this crisis. In Ireland “Right to Die With Dignity” Legislation is very long overdue – it is now an overdue emergency. – John Meehan

I got a call from the owner of a nursing home this week desperate and crying. All of her permanent staff were sick or in isolation and the agencies had no nurses available.

I arrived on Friday morning- supposed to be the 2nd nurse with 5 HCAs to support 24 residents. Instead what transpired was I was the only nurse with 3 HCAs as the other agency staff failed to show.

I had never been in this home before, so I didnt know the residents or how to navigate around the home.

The author continues :

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Covid-19 Vampire screams as water burns his skin – but he hangs on and continues hissing

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Grim Tough Covid-19 Virus News lurks. Let’s start Easter Monday 2020 with a Mike Finn Limerick. Did you enjoy Good Friday Hot Cross Buns?

Holy Orders

Two holy nuns, big Sister Mary Agnes and small Sister Mary Vincent, are traveling through eastern Europe in their car, bring the word of God to Transylvania. As they were stopped at a traffic light, out of nowhere, a small vampire jumps onto the hood of the car and hisses at them through the windshield.

“Quick, quick!” shouts big Sister Mary Agnes, “What should we do?”

“Turn the windshield wipers on. That will get rid of the abomination,” says small Sister Mary Vincent. Big Sister Mary Agnes switches on the wipers, which knock the mini-Dracula around. But, the little vampire hangs on and continues hissing at the two nuns. “What shall I do now?” shouts big Sister Mary Agnes.

“Try the windshield washer. I filled it with holy water before we left the Vatican,” replies small Sister Mary Vincent.

Sister Mary Agnes turns on the windshield washer. The vampire screams as the water burns his skin, but he hangs on and continues hissing at the nuns.

“Now what?” shouts big Sister Mary Agnes.

“Show him your cross,” says small Sister Mary Vincent.

“Now you’re talking,” says big Sister Mary Agnes. She then puts down her window and shouts, “Get the hell off our car you blood sucking fool!”

https://halloweenjokes.com/two-nuns-versus-a-vampire-joke.html

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 13, 2020 at 9:52 am

The SWP (USA) and Social Distancing: a Study in Abnormal Political Psychology

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Spacers, many of them religious groups in the USA, have placed themselves in grave danger by defying Covid-19 social distancing advice. One group of spacers, studied here by Louis Proyect, is politically motivated.

COUNTERPUNCH, APRIL 10, 2020 In the photo below, dated March 15, 2020, you will see a group of mostly senior citizens defying the call for social …

The SWP and Social Distancing: a Study in Abnormal Political Psychology

A doctor commented

It will be very sad, if somewhat ironic, were some these SWPers to end up having memorial meetings of their own because of their attending this one. As for closing meetings prior to the governmental instructions, I was instrumental in cancelling all social meetings for the support group that I help run for people with a neurological illness, a couple of weeks prior to the British government’s lock-down, on the basis that meeting in cafés was not a good idea, particularly for people with underlying health problems. As the SWP’s membership makes even me look somewhat young, and seeing how the Corona virus is especially dangerous to older folk, I would have thought that cancelling public meetings before having to by way of government fiat, would have been a good idea for the SWP to have implemented.

Another politically motivated individual who ignored physical distancing Covid-19 Advice was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Keep Your Distance!

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 11, 2020 at 4:02 pm