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Independents4Change January 31, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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I see Joan Collins has joined the Independents4Change group, Clare Daly, Barry Martin, Mick Wallace…. any others running under that banner?
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1. dublinstreams - January 31, 2016

it might end up being 4 non-Independent Independents for Right 2 Change. Declan Bree is using similar logo Independent4change logo (but note lack of s) on his twitter profle, Pat Dunne not running for GE16? Barbara Smyth is running in Longford got Clare Daly and Mick Wallace to launch her campaign that she was referring to as Independent4change (note lack of s), but insist she not part f a party of any type. So Mick Wallace has set up a structure for Right2Change candidates for potential use in the Dail (similar to AAA-PBP) which some 4 candidates in the post may put beside their name on the ballot/ but there are other Right2Change associated candidates signed up who’ll run as non-party Independents ?

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2. Jolly Red Giant - February 1, 2016

Disappointed that Joan Collins has hitched her wagon to the Wallace train.

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jamesmcbarron - February 1, 2016

Not directed at you in particular JRG. But at what point does Mick Wallace get to move on? Will we still be seeing hostility to him in 5, 10, 15 years time or is it a life sentence?

On the gardai, Nama, Shannon etc. he has done good work surely. I’m not a hanger on in anyway, but how long a sentence of pariah must he serve are will he always be beyond the pale?

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Jolly Red Giant - February 1, 2016

Nothing to do with his previous antics – although they should not be swept under the carpet.

Wallace is not left-wing – he is a populist – and Daly and Collins (and Martin) joining up with him in I4C is a shift towards populism by all three of them. A couple of months ago Daly and Collins were the United Left – a clear left grouping – and Martin was a member of the SWP – now all three are in a much more dilute political grouping with no distinct left-wing element to it.

It should be noted what Wallace said in court last week when he was looking for a stay in the debt judgement against him – he said that he could be part of negotiations for the next government – Wallace is willing to do deals.

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dublinstreams - February 1, 2016

agree witH JRG that is not about moving on, Its about who he is, but does them signing up to Right2change not mean anything?

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Jolly Red Giant - February 1, 2016

Direct Democracy and the National Citizens Movement have both signed up to R2C.

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dublinstreams - February 1, 2016

and the party you support

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leftcooperation - February 1, 2016

Wallace’s barrister made those comments and the point about government could mean many things. If I recall correctly Wallace was quite categorical in ruling out coalition with FF/FG in the Prime Time programme a number of months back.

I do find it odd that the AAA-PBPA electoral alliance is so very limited, not to mention standing against other lefts including each other. The potential for the left is far broader that those two groupings. It’s unfortunate that Daly and Collins and others weren’t invited to participate which is my understanding.

I’ve no real problem with I4C – I’d prefer a broader left alternative akin to the ULA but that doesn’t seem to be on the cards, unfortunately.

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WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2016

That’s a fair point you make in your first paragraph. Like yourself I think it’s a pity that there’s such huge fragmentation, a larger more cohesive entity – even if still loosish – would do everyone a favour.

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dublinstreams - February 1, 2016

not invited to participate? what nonsense they both chose to leave the parties behind the AAA-PBP

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Ed - February 2, 2016

“not invited to participate? what nonsense they both chose to leave the parties behind the AAA-PBP”

Eh? Is that another way of saying they weren’t invited to participate? Everyone knows that Clare Daly left the SP a few years ago, that Joan Collins left the SP a long time before that, and that Collins left the PBPA some time ago (in fairness to her, remaining a member wasn’t going to stop the SWP running a candidate in a bid to take her seat, so you can hardly blame her for leaving). I don’t have any inside information about this, I don’t know whether the door was left open to them or not, but it’s a bit bizarre to say they excluded themselves the day they left the SP or PBPA.

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gendjinn - February 2, 2016

Populism, when I hear that term in the states it means “Democracy that the elites don’t like.” Does it mean something different in Ireland?

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leftcooperation - February 1, 2016

‘Wallace Train’

That’s quite a pejorative assessment and somewhat demeaning to Joan Collins.

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dublinstreams - February 1, 2016

not inaccurate, she dissolved a party she and Daly and Dunne and Bree has set up and ‘joined’ one registered in Wallace’s (and his PA’s) name, she’s hitched her wagon to the Brendan Ogle / SF train

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Liberius - February 1, 2016

+1

Spin can’t hide the fact that Daly and Collins had a vehicle of their own that has been abandoned in favour of a vehicle registered to Wallace; why didn’t he merge his outfit into UL?

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WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2016

On the other hand they did remain within the ULA until pretty much the bitter end when the parties they were formerly in walked from that formation. Truth is every one has manoeuvred for advantage over the past five years.

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Liberius - February 1, 2016

What advantage do they get this way though that they wouldn’t have had the other? Is Wallace really the sort of prize asset that requires Daly and Collins to go to length of using his registration? And more to the point what does it say about him that he couldn’t be accommodated inside the UL, is ‘left’ not a term nebulous enough for him?

Sure it’s true that all groups manoeuvre for their own advantage, but in most cases the nature of those manoeuvres are easily understood, if not agreed with, in this case I really don’t understand this if it is not taken as accommodating a Wallace who doesn’t see himself in the same terms as Daly and Collins do/did.

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WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2016

Has anyone asked them? I’ve no personal insight into this particular issue.

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WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2016

Though my purely personal interpretation is that probably UL was as it were largely unknown – too reminiscent too of the ULA which is better known and regarded as a failure – and didn’t quite fit the reality of what the three are, loosely aligned independents who are signed up to R2C. I don’t think there’s any great mystery there.

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dublinstreams - February 1, 2016

she wrote letters to the media telling them to stop calling her PBP/ULA etc insisting she was running as an Independent, we won’t know what she’ll actually be running as till we see the notice of poll.

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WorldbyStorm - February 1, 2016

This is JC, again I’d imagine independents4chznge will be pretty loose, not sure that what you’re saying changes that.

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Alibaba - February 2, 2016

leftcooperation says about the AAA-PBPA electoral alliance: ‘It’s unfortunate that Daly and Collins and others weren’t invited to participate which is my understanding.’ Dublinstreams replies: ‘not invited to participate? what nonsense they both chose to leave the parties behind the AAA-PBP’.

For the record, I asked Joan Collins if she was invited to join the new initiative and she told me she wasn’t. I put the same question to Paul Murphy about Collins and others and he told me quite honestly that they didn’t go there with them.

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

the idea that they’d be invited back into an SP-SWP-AAA-PBP alliance after having chosen to leave is what is nonsense.

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Alibaba - February 2, 2016

BTW we know now that Mick Wallace is being chased for a loan repayment up to €2 million from Cerberus. He’s top of their list and they are gunning for him. This is the company Wallace attacked in the Dail when he alleged they were in cahoots with political elites to whom they gave sweeteners of millions (via Isle of Man banks) to get their repayment deal. Wallace is not a leftist and he did have an interest in that scenario; but I reckon he did the right thing when he brought this (and other wrongdoings) to public attention.

As for the Independents4Change, same old, same old divving up by lefties. No wonder many of us are left in despair.

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WorldbyStorm - February 2, 2016

Yet that does point up dublinstreams the constrained nature of that alliance.

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Liberius - February 2, 2016

Has anyone asked them? I’ve no personal insight into this particular issue.

Nothing is stopping them from clarifying the situation, CLR is one of the focal points of Ireland’s left online, it stretches credulity for them, or somebody in their teams not to know that these questions are being asked.

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Ed - February 2, 2016

“the idea that they’d be invited back into an SP-SWP-AAA-PBP alliance after having chosen to leave is what is nonsense.”

Ah, so you’re talking about the ULA? But the record shows it was WUAG who left the ULA first, followed by the SP; I’m not sure when, exactly, the SWP or PBPA left, or if they even did so formally (although you could argue they were doing their own thing from the day after the 2011 election, what with the Enough! campaign being set up in direct competition with the ULA). As far as I remember, Daly and Collins were the last people to give up on the ULA. So you should really say ‘the idea that they’d be invited back into an SP-SWP-AAA-PBP alliance after the SP, SWP and PBPA chose to leave is what is nonsense’.

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rockroots - February 2, 2016

Just for clarity – the United Left Party hasn’t been wound-up just for the benefit of Mick Wallace, it never really took off and hasn’t functioned for years. IIRC its activities/communications lapsed after about 6 months and by the 2014 elections it was just a logo used by the (otherwise separate) Daly and Collins groups, and Bree didn’t bother using it at all.

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

Ed who said anything about exlusion?

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Ed - February 2, 2016

Are you joking? We’re talking about whether they were invited to take part in something or not. If you’re not invited to take part in something, then you’re excluded. Nobody is suggesting that the SP or SWP sent them a letter saying ‘you lot can’t be in our gang; don’t even think of showing your faces around here, or you’ll be sorry’. I don’t think it’s a massive issue, for all I know Daly and Collins would prefer to go their own way and not be part of an alliance with the SP and SWP. I’ve no inside knowledge. But I’m curious to know what the story was.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 2, 2016

Clare Daly has made it abundantly clear that she is not and would not have been interested in discussing any ‘alliance’ that did not include Wallace and Collins would not participate without Daly.

It would have been a waste of time to ‘invite’ discussions when the parameters were so clearly set.

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Jim Monaghan - February 2, 2016

Was Seamus Healy asked?

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WorldbyStorm - February 2, 2016

I think even a pro-forma invite is a good idea at times like these, if only to keep everything clear. And of course things do change.

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Ed - February 2, 2016

Fair enough, that’s an answer, whether you agree with it or not. I’m not really making an argument here myself about who should be involved or not involved, I don’t know enough of the details. I just didn’t buy the idea that Collins and Daly had counted themselves out by pulling out of the ULA before.

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leftcooperation - February 2, 2016

‘Clare Daly has made it abundantly clear that she is not and would not have been interested in discussing any ‘alliance’ that did not include Wallace’

I have seen no evidence anywhere to back that assertion – could you share it?

It would seem that the SP weren’t of a mind to involve them that’s my anecdotal evidence and is backed by what Alibaba pointed out today:

‘I put the same question to Paul Murphy about Collins and others and he told me quite honestly that they didn’t go there with them’

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

Im absolutely serious.

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3. ivorthorne - February 2, 2016

Wallace is Wallace. He’s done a lot of good in the Dail. That doesn’t change the past but it does mean that if I had the opportunity he’d get one of my preferences. The way in which he (and the likes of Clare Daly and Catherine Murphy) has helped highlight hard and soft corruption within Irish life benefits every left project.

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4. leftcooperation - February 2, 2016

‘the idea that they’d be invited back into an SP-SWP-AAA-PBP alliance after having chosen to leave is what is nonsense’

The point is that a broad left electoral alliance could have been an important step forward in this election. As i previously stated I think it’s odd that the AAA-PBPA chose such a limited alliance and others could have been and indeed should have included. The fact that Daly and Collins are ex SP (and PBPA in Collins case) is largely irrelevant for the purposes of establishing a broad electoral alliance.

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

other then it might have been tactically smart to ask just so you can say that you did, whats the point in asking people to rejoin partys they just left? If Collins and Daly aren’t making an issue out of not being asked to join I don’t know why anyone else would.

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Aonrud - February 2, 2016

To be fair, are you not eliding a broad left alliance with party membership here? Participating in an alliance, with whatever degree of shared policy platform, isn’t equivalent to joining either party. Joan Collins was PBPA when she joined ULA, but you wouldn’t equate that with rejoining SP, even though they were also participants.

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

its a party, you can call it a Dail group party, but its a party which requires rejoining, they were part of a alliance the ULA that looked at creating a Dail group party back then didn’t they?, they left it and their party/party alliances, I don’t know whats changed to allow the AAA/PBPA to now form a Dail group party again other then those most reluctant to joining such a party group are no longer part of the discussion.

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Ed - February 2, 2016

You don’t seem to be on the ball with this DS – they didn’t leave the ULA. The SP left the ULA, then the SWP at some point (not sure when exactly or whether there was a formal annoucement). Not Daly and Collins. They didn’t leave it until it was defunct. I don’t know if they would have wanted to get involved in this new alliance or not, but it’s a bit daft to say they were excluded by definition because the SP and SWP chose to leave the ULA a few years back.

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WorldbyStorm - February 2, 2016

That is indeed the chronology Ed. And worth extending the point and noting that somehow people managed to cohabit in the ULA as independents for a while despite coming from the parties previously. So it’s difficult to see why that would be an impediment.

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

because wbs the ULA wasn’t a party of any kind.

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WorldbyStorm - February 2, 2016

But are any of the successor organisations parties of any kind? Do they have actual democratic representational structures? Do they speak with a single voice? Seems to me not. I’ve no ill-will to AAA-PBP or Independents4Change or whoever has manifested in recent times on the left of Labour – quite the opposite, but it is fair to describe them as more than alliances for the purposes of the election (and by the way simply because they register as parties is to me neither here nor there. The SDs are likewise registered and RENUA too. Where precisely are the democratic representational structures in those instances at this point?). I see no harm in that whatsoever. But if that’s the case then they are all closer to the ULA than not. I think it very problematic to assume that ULA = not a party (though there were many inside it who wanted it to be and sought that end) and AAA-PBP or I4C = party. The actual party structures are actually behind now two levels in the AAA-PBP case and there ain’t no party in I4C. Not that I can see anyhow.

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

good questions on democratic structures wbs I guess people would say thats up each of these parties and their members but

Registering a political party in Ireland
In addition, the party must have a constitution, a memorandum or another document or set of rules that have been adopted by the party and that provide for:
An annual or other periodic meeting or conference of the party
An executive committee or similar body elected by the party, which administers the business of the party.
http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/national_government/houses_of_the_oireachtas/registering_a_political_party.html which isn’t exactly onerous,obviously democracy requires much then that or whats on paper, it would be good for Oireachtas to publish every parties constitution.

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CMK - February 2, 2016

I think Clare Daly and Joan Collins are probably quiet content to go it alone over the long term and the Wallace vehicle is a useful institutional support but if it had never happened I don’t think either would have suffered electorally as a result.

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

joining a Dail party isn’t going it alone.

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CMK - February 2, 2016

Well that’s an interesting point: is a Dáil registered ‘party’ a party and what is a political party?

I4C is a lash up between sitting TDs to differentiate themselves from other Independents. It’s not a ‘party’ in any meaningful sense. They’ll all plow their own furrow and loosely co-ordinate in the Dáil and then whip out the I4C posters and logo at the next election. Point is: I4C is not a party.

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Joe - February 2, 2016

And AAAPbP is not a party in the real sense either. It’s just a lash up between the SP and the SWP to try to get the seven Dáil seats and the speaking rights and resources that go with reaching that number.
I like that term lash up!

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CMK - February 2, 2016

Touche!

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

but isn’t that what Independents4change are trying to do too? otherwise what the point of it, they all could have stuck with just the right2change association, but is only got 4 candidates so far, AAA-PBP has ~31 candidates, in 26 constituencies atleast its possible they can get 7 https://adriankavanaghelections.org/2014/10/22/officially-declared-candidates-for-the-20152016-general-election/

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5. Liberius - February 2, 2016

From the Dáil today

62. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if he has recently met with representatives of the Reactions and Effects of Gardasil Resulting in Extreme Trauma, REGRET, group, to discuss available or potential health support services, and other supports for families represented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. 

Deputy Clare Daly: This question relates to the parents who organise a group called REGRET. Almost 200 teenage girls have experienced serious side effects having taken the‎ human papillomavirus HPV vaccine. Has the Minister met with that group recently to discuss what supports might be put in place? While we might debate their origin the problems these young women are experiencing are undoubtedly real and the families need urgent support.

Deputy Clare Daly: It is important to say that these families are not anti-vaccine crusaders. They had their daughters vaccinated and now their daughters are severely unwell and as the Minister says, the side-effects are real. It is all very well to acknowledge the EMA review of the drug but it only examined it for two side-effects and did not take into account the full range of symptoms that some of the parents have outlined, anything from a leg tumour to chronic fatigue and so on.

I’ve gone to quite some length before to flag up that these side-effects have no verified links to q-HPV vaccines; the various comments I’ve left on the NCM thread cover that amply. I’m not really sure what to say, I can’t imagine she actually believes there is a link (what rational person would in the face of there being no verified proof?), so the only explanation is that she’s currying favour with Fingal’s large cohort of young families and their fears (stoked up by REGRET, NCM and TV3). That’s definitely not socialist politics, but the politics of populism pure and simple.

http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2016020200012?opendocument

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

What wrong with what CD said in the Dail there liberious
CD “It is important to say that these families are not anti-vaccine crusaders.” true false

Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if he has recently met with representatives to discuss available or potential health support services, and other supports for families represented; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

reasonable, no.

she raised this issue on the People’s debate but neglected to say anything positve about vacinations that time.

Maureen O’Sullivan was citing some doctor re vaccinations today too who? http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2016020200012?opendocument#K00100

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Liberius - February 2, 2016

It is all very well to acknowledge the EMA review of the drug but it only examined it for two side-effects and did not take into account the full range of symptoms that some of the parents have outlined, anything from a leg tumour to chronic fatigue and so on.

That is obviously unreasonable as it’s linked these maladies to q-HPV vaccines without verified proof. She’s overstepped from merely supporting people with health problems into accepting that there is a link between those problems and q-HPV vaccination; something that is not proven, and indeed in many cases has been comprehensively refuted.

Refer back to the series of comments I made in the NCM thread starting with the linked comment. The evidence is not in favour of a link, and therefore it should not be raised as such.

https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/the-national-citizens-movement/#comment-481583

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dublinstreams - February 2, 2016

but I thought it was accepted that all vaccines can cause adverse reactions beyond their desired effect in a very tiny number of cases.

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Liberius - February 2, 2016

Leg tumours and chronic fatigue syndrome? Get a grip man, evidence has to be provided to back up these kind of claims, otherwise it’s just nonsense. And since that evidence doesn’t exist it is just that, nonsense.

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WorldbyStorm - February 2, 2016

I’m entirely with you Liberius in regard to the idea that the supposed adverse reactions are linked to the vaccine is deeply deeply unlikely – but that said I think engaging with a group of people who believe they have had or still have these reactions does necessitate some sort of input from state health services in a sympathetic way which is supportive while simultaneously underlining that these are not connected. And part of that may well be examining and ultimately dismissing much or all of this. But as a process in regard to what is almost certainly a psychological response I think that nothing CD has said is as such out of bounds.

Or to put it another way, if I encountered someone who thought their daughter or son had had some unpleasant or awful side-effect from a vaccine I think I’d want to work through all the aspects in order to gently point to why the linkages they perceived weren’t actually extant.

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Liberius - February 2, 2016

Engaging them though in a way which gives credence to their erroneous opinions by raising them in a parliament as if they were fact is liable merely to legitimise those erroneous opinions rather than disabuse them of those opinions. By all means the state’s health services should engage with the sick, but not at the expense of wider public health, which, make no mistake, is harmed by the undermining of confidence in vaccinations.

Daly is participating in undermining that confidence, presumably out of a desire to gain votes (I say that because in the past she’s come across as too rational (though I might just be wrong about that) to actually believe this stuff), there really isn’t any kind of serious defence for that.

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WorldbyStorm - February 2, 2016

Reading what she’s said – and again I’m utterly anti anti vax and nor am I in CDs camp – it seems to me she’s been careful not to say there’s a link merely that those she mentions believe there is. There are all sorts of cranks and cranky opinions out there but those who believe incorrectly their children have been impacted do require a gentler approach and if that includes the airing of concerns in the parliament and the rational and compassionate calming of those concerns there I’m all for it. There another point I’d make. I hate when public figures repeat and broadcast antivax stuff almost gratuitously because the influence of that can be pernicious. But those CD is engaging with are a step or two beyond that – they believe, there’s no question of them being influenced, it’s too late. I think we have to move beyond prophylactic responses to something different, more embracing, more again that word compassionate and accept it will take a long time because disabusing them of those incorrect ideas is very very difficult, they’re not simply ‘erroneous opinions’ but a part of the self identity and worldview of those who hold them.. .
But I think leftcooperation has a point re asking her or her people directly.

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dublinstreams - February 3, 2016

oh didn’t read the leg tumour bit ! think Clare Daly has been on wrong side of the line on this, but what you would you Liberius if you were TD and constituents like these came to you?

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6. leftcooperation - February 2, 2016

I don’t think you’ve provided any substantial evidence to back this assertion-

‘Daly is participating in undermining that confidence, presumably out of a desire to gain votes’

I understand your frustration given your point of view but I don’t think Daly irrespective of how one views her is someone who raises any issues to win votes quite apart from anything else one could argue that of all of the TDs on the left she is arguably the only one who is virtually guaranteed her seat – the only issue for debate is will she top the poll (I hope I’m not tempting faith there).

I don’t know enough about the science of what you raise but I’d imagine the people concerned approached her and clearly she felt compelled to raise the issue – knowing Daly a little I’d suggest her motivations are fairly genuine and honest and not as disingenuous as you imply. Perhaps it might be an idea for you to engage with Daly on the issue?

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7. Liberius - February 3, 2016

Reading what she’s said – and again I’m utterly anti anti vax and nor am I in CDs camp – it seems to me she’s been careful not to say there’s a link merely that those she mentions believe there is.

Raising leg tumours and chronic fatigue as if they are connected to q-HPV vaccines isn’t merely mentioning that they believe this, it is anti-scientific scaremongering. Indeed raising REGRET as if they have a legitimate point-of-view is dangerous to wider public health; I’ve no doubts that they can’t be won around by rational arguments, but indulging them publicly won’t change that, it might just however sway some over to their arguments leading potentially to an increased risk of cancers in the future.

oh didn’t read the leg tumour bit ! think Clare Daly has been on wrong side of the line on this, but what you would you Liberius if you were TD and constituents like these came to you?

I wouldn’t interact with them as a group, nor raise REGRET and Gardasil in parliament, as I believe a ‘cordon sanitaire’ needs to be drawn around this sort of thing publicly for the sake of wider public health. However I would help individuals interact with health services if they aren’t getting the care they need (Access to adequate health care is a more universal problem).

I don’t know enough about the science of what you raise but I’d imagine the people concerned approached her and clearly she felt compelled to raise the issue – knowing Daly a little I’d suggest her motivations are fairly genuine and honest and not as disingenuous as you imply. Perhaps it might be an idea for you to engage with Daly on the issue?

Is it too much to ask that a public representative does some research before raising spurious claims in parliament? Why does it fall upon somebody like myself to do their job for them? The reason I claim that she’s fishing for votes is because I don’t think she’s the sort of irrational person who believes these claims, I genuinely can’t see a serious argument for raising these issues in the Dáil if it’s not for cynical reasons.

Maybe I should raise these issues with her directly, however I’d suggest that it’s irksome from my perspective to have to take up these issues directly with her when they should never have been raised in the Dáil to begin with; research (by which I mean reading sources that aren’t anti-vax) should have been conducted before this got anywhere near being put on public record.

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WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2016

Raising leg tumours and chronic fatigue as if they are connected to q-HPV vaccines isn’t merely mentioning that they believe this, it is anti-scientific scaremongering. Indeed raising REGRET as if they have a legitimate point-of-view is dangerous to wider public health; I’ve no doubts that they can’t be won around by rational arguments, but indulging them publicly won’t change that, it might just however sway some over to their arguments leading potentially to an increased risk of cancers in the future.

Again she’s recounting what their view is and directly asking authorities to engage with them and their fears. Now I suspect if I was in a similar position I’d do much the same however much I thought that the proximate complaint was a crock – which I think it is here, if only because these are citizens who feel something is wrong.

What they need above all else – and taking into account they won’t be moved from their position easily or rapidly – is someone to take account of their concerns and to bring them into a context where their fears can be allayed and the lack of connection with what they think is the situation can be pointed up. And I’m not convinced that in doing that one would increase risks in the future. Most people are, thankfully, happy to accept that the vaccine is an good thing in and of itself and necessary. Clare Daly engaging with one group doesn’t alter that in the slightest as long as she doesn’t say that she is anti-vaccination or that their fears are grounded without any qualification. She doesn’t appear to at least in what I read.

I wouldn’t interact with them as a group, nor raise REGRET and Gardasil in parliament, as I believe a ‘cordon sanitaire’ needs to be drawn around this sort of thing publicly for the sake of wider public health. However I would help individuals interact with health services if they aren’t getting the care they need (Access to adequate health care is a more universal problem).

But you’re not a public representative. Of course you don’t have to meet with anyone. But public reps do have some duty to interact with their constituents and particularly with a group of them.

Is it too much to ask that a public representative does some research before raising spurious claims in parliament? Why does it fall upon somebody like myself to do their job for them? The reason I claim that she’s fishing for votes is because I don’t think she’s the sort of irrational person who believes these claims, I genuinely can’t see a serious argument for raising these issues in the Dáil if it’s not for cynical reasons.
I have to disagree – I don’t think that’s quite the dynamic here of her raising the spurious claims. One could feel as I do that their belief is completely incorrect without feeling that they should be totally ignored or avoided. And as noted above Clare Daly is unlikely to be one who is ‘fishing for votes’ in such a limited pool.
Maybe I should raise these issues with her directly, however I’d suggest that it’s irksome from my perspective to have to take up these issues directly with her when they should never have been raised in the Dáil to begin with; research (by which I mean reading sources that aren’t anti-vax) should have been conducted before this got anywhere near being put on public record.

Yes, but you’re placing your list of priorities and your perspective above that of someone else in a completely different position. For instance I think you are massively underestimating the emotional power that this sort of thing can have – by way of example for years I was subject to a deep fear of flying. It didn’t matter that I rationally knew that I was probably safer on a commercial passenger jet than anywhere else in the world, that my own father had been a navigator on aircraft in the 50s and 60s, that everyone I knew flew regularly, that I actually loved aircraft and aviation, the emotional response was much much more powerful than any of that. Eventually that faded with age time and Xanax, but someone telling me then that my response wasn’t real or whatever wouldn’t alter my belief one iota.

When it comes to children that emotional response can arguably be even stronger. Those parents are incorrect, both of us agree, but their response isn’t something that they can easily be argued out of – and I’d also wonder at whether ignoring them completely doesn’t lead to paranoia and a victim mentality which is not useful and causes other problems.

And again, she’s not actually said she agrees with them, or gives credence to their views, she has merely stated what they believe. If she crosses that line then I’m entirely with you.

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Liberius - February 3, 2016

But you’re not a public representative. Of course you don’t have to meet with anyone. But public reps do have some duty to interact with their constituents and particularly with a group of them.

I was only answering DS’s question, you’re right I’m not a public representative, but that’s hardly the point. Should public representatives interact with any kind of group that lobbies them, irrespective of what their views are? Look, this might sound callous, but I don’t believe public representatives should indulge irrational beliefs just for the sake of not hurting their feelings. In this case their unfounded opinions constitute a danger to public confidence to vaccination, and thus a danger to public health. This is not an area where indulging them comes at no cost to the wider public. Most people will right recognise that vaccination is beneficial, but we owe it to that small minority who’ll be swayed by these arguments not to give them credence by repeating them. Remember Daly stated in the Dáil that ”It is all very well to acknowledge the EMA review of the drug but it only examined it for two side-effects and did not take into account the full range of symptoms that some of the parents have outlined, anything from a leg tumour to chronic fatigue and so on.”. Stated in those terms it draws the potential that there are unanswered question hanging over q-HPV vaccines when there are not, is that not dangerous to public health? There was a report out of the Netherlands a few months ago which noted that complaints received about Cervarix, one of Gardasil’s competitors, spiked after public attention was drawn to the cranky complaints around it (see below quote from summary and look at page 6 of report to see a graph of complaints), this isn’t an abstract issue, if public knowledge of alleged problems exists then more and more people will start blaming it for whatever ailments are effecting their children irrespective of the evidence.

I suppose it comes down to the fact that I’m of the opinion that the collective good outweighs the right of groups to receive an airing, these aren’t philosophical arguments, but serious matters of public health and science, the balance of priority in science is in favour of evidence not supposition; therefore they shouldn’t receive a platform that gives credence to positions without evidential material to back it up. Individually they need to be worked with by health professionals to help them recognise their irrationality, but that must happened outside of the public eye where they can do damage to public opinion on this subject.

The majority of the reports were received in the introduction year of Cervarix® to the National mmunization Program. Most reports concern short-term AEFIs. The majority of the reports that concern long lasting AEFIs were received after media attention on the HPV-vaccine in 2012 and 2015.

http://www.lareb.nl/Signalen/Lareb_rapport_HPV_dec15_03

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WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2016

It’s not really about not hurting feelings, it’s about how groups of people operate. Those people exist, they have a misperception, they aren’t going to go away and if in getting a bit of an airing that assists them to some sort of resolution then I think that raising it in the parliament may be no harm (I’d also hope that others in that forum who can quote chapter and verse on these issues would be there to push back against any hint of anti-vax sentiment). I think it’s a pointless exercise to try to quash this sort of thing – at least in the sense of starving it of publicity or engagement.

And I do think if a group of citizens goes to a public rep with a complaint or an issue then it’s not unreasonable to raise aspects of that – as long as one doesn’t uncritically accept the premise those involved have. It’s a bit like anti-fluoridation campaigners. Nothing irritates me more in terms of the sheer lack of evidence that there’s a problem there, but… my attitude is knock themselves out trying to air it. And more to the point there’s no way of stopping it in an open society.

I’m very leery of trying to pre-censor or quash opinions – not least because in some instances there may be problems with something that only emerges in the longer term or in certain conditions.

But I guess we won’t agree on this very particular aspect of the problem – other than to be both resolutely anti-anti-vaxers.

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CMK - February 3, 2016

Liberius, you’re a clearly informed person on this issue. However, I think that what Clare Daly is doing is what the vast majority of public reps would do. Very few public reps have a scientific background, some have a medical background. Their abilities to assess initially the validity of claims like that about Gardasil would be limited. Indeed, it would be kryptonite for a public rep, faced with a group making a claim about the impact of a medical product, to state ‘thanks for bringing this to my attention, but I’ll get back to you when I’ve checked out the scientific basis of your claim. This could take several months.’ The problem with the Gardasil issue is that some unscrupulous political forces – DDI and the National Citizens Movement – have no compunction in using this to further their agenda. It’s something that has to be handled sensitively, I think. EVen if the science is clear-cut that the vaccine is not the cause of the conditions being suffered.

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8. Alibaba - February 3, 2016

As I understand it, the counter-arguments against the idea of broad left electoral alliance were designed to deliver a clear political message: join our Alliance(s) or Be Gone. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this translates into the notion that you are with us or against us. There was never any desire to explore the possilities for a bigger electoral pact or alliance. This would have been a matter of working together and seeing if there are certain procedures or developments that need to be set up to allow this to happen.

Just imagine what could be done if AAA-PBP plus others, including left independent candidates, and whoever by association had created something new.

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WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2016

I certainly think that a bigger wider formation would have a greater presence at this point in time. It stands to reason reason, particularly after the experience of the ULA in the pre-2011 period. Now there’s a real danger of it being just one voice amongst many many voices.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 3, 2016

The prospect of a ‘wider’ formation was not possible for a couple of reasons
1. Some of the left independents want to go alone – they are afraid that they will lose votes if associated with a formal grouping
2. Other left independents want a wider association than just the left

Just one other point – the AAA/PBP did have discussions with some others on the left – the discussions unfortunately didn’t come to any fruition.

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WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2016

Yet they didn’t clearly feel theyd lose votes by staying in the ULA remaining in it until it effectively collapsed after the departure of the other parties.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 3, 2016

I wasn’t talking about Daly and Collins specifically – but it should be noted that they abandoned the ‘United Left’ for I4C in the run up to the election – so your suggestion about votes doesn’t actually hold up.

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WorldbyStorm - February 3, 2016

Actually it does JRG. They didn’t leave ULA while the two (earlier three) parties were involved, so obviously they had no problem being in alliance with them, when eventually there was only themselves left ULA (or even UL) was obviously an absurdly grand name for just two TDs and hence the shift to I4C which is both less ludicrously grandiose and has the virtue of being accurate as a description.

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Pasionario - February 3, 2016

But there was a difference between the ULA and United Left (which was supposed to be a new party). I have great respect for Daly and Collins but trading the latter in for the ideologically meaningless “Independents 4 Change” suggests a loss of bottle. (I also find the “4” really annoying) — this is politics not a text message!

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rockroots - February 3, 2016

Again, the United Left Party hasn’t been active for two years, its members have been operating as independents. It’s misleading to suggest that the party has in some way been surrendered to Mick Wallace in the last few months.

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dublinstreams - February 4, 2016

rockroots I would have agreed with you up until this post showing Joan Collins rejoining Clare Daly in Wallace’s party barely a month after the United Left was officially dissolved.

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WorldbyStorm - February 4, 2016

United Left never took off. I think it’s as simple as that. No point in them pretending it did so they didn’t.

Though I too am in agreement re the 4.

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9. sonofstan - February 3, 2016

Wit u on d 4

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