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School transmission rates October 28, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/1028/1174434-school-positivity-rates/

Really interesting. The Covid rates in Schools we are being told about do not include the initial cases that led to the testing in the first place.

So the numbers must be higher than officially communicated.

Logical October 28, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Good point made in the SBP by Dermot Dorgan who is ‘an investment risk analyst, and a member of the Independent Scientific Advocacy Group‘. Writing about the current situation in relation to the pandemic he makes a basic point:

Fear and doubt are a heavy burden for individuals, as they are for society as a whole. When too many of us are too scared to leave our homes, to take public transport, to go into a shop, or to meet friends for coffee, commercial activity stalls and the economy seizes up.

And:

the IMF estimated that about half of the total contraction in economic activity experienced during the lockdown period was due to ‘voluntary social distancing’. The report also suggested that loosening restrictions had a weaker effect on activity than tightening, and that the effect was weaker still when the perceived health risk was higher.

And here’s the crucial point:


In other words, you can lock people down, but you can’t force them out again.

As long as the virus is a threat, many would sooner withdraw from society, rather than run the risk of infection.Their caution is driven by an innate desire for self-preservation, and that primal instinct will prevail over any government policy.Yes, lockdowns are bad for the economy, but they only tell half the story

Because:

I think this point has been lost on those who frame the issue as a trade-off between public health and the economy. They argue that the risk to the public health has been overstated and therefore that more economic activity can be allowed. There is some truth to their argument, but I question whether their policy would be effective in the long run. Looser restrictions might lead to a temporary economic bounce, but what happens as the virus continues to spread, and infections rise?

And;

If the IMF are right, a sudden loosening of restrictions would lead to a sharp increase in voluntary social distancing. If the outbreak was serious enough, huge swathes of the population could be scared into self-isolation. For an already weakened and lop-sided economy, this could be a knock-out blow. Far from liberating our society, this approach might condemn us to an even deeper decline in living standards.

Now if one looks again at the figures from polling in the SBP fully 66% of the population wants current or greater restrictions. Granted there will be individual slippage, but that is a huge bloc of people who are not going to engage in general economic activity to any great degree if restrictions are lifted in a context where the virus is spreading.

And therefore Dorgan is absolutely correct. To pretend that one can ‘live with the virus’ is to ignore the very natural caution of those in the population who will treat any such exhortations with the scepticism they deserve.

For Dorgan the only logical course is obvious… because as he says ‘Irish society is paralysed’ and ‘we cannot solve economic problems until we eliminate the uncertainty in our lives [from the virus]\. By the by nice to hear someone use the word society in these discussions. All too often economy is used as shorthand for society – which is simply incorrect.

His conclusion:

If there is even the slightest possibility that we can eliminate the virus, we must explore the idea in full and without delay. 

Podcast -The Emigration Action Movement October 28, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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This episode covers the Cork based Anti Emigration Movement that fielded candidates in the 1960 Local Elections. They were also part of the broader Emigration Action Movement which was formed as a National Umbrella group for like minded parties.

The Emigration Action Movement – Episode 21

Labour and SF October 28, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Una Mullally argues in the IT this week that a certain dynamic is emerging in Irish politics.

[Alan] Kelly is looking to hitch the Labour wagon to Sinn Féin. Both parties are frequently espousing the same opinions, backing each other up in media interviews, voting along the same lines and creating a cohesive Opposition alongside the Soc Dems and People before Profit. Would Labour not be decimated again as a small party going in with a bigger party should a left-wing coalition government coalesce? Not necessarily. When Sinn Féin is in government, expectations will be so high among their voters that any failures will be pinned on them, and their coalition partners will be shielded from the most severe criticism. That’s why, ultimately, for smaller parties allying with Sinn Féin is becoming the only game in town. Kelly knows it, and it’s perhaps that added pragmatism that marks him out as a leader more drawn to realism than rhetoric. As ludicrous as it may look on paper to talk about a Labour resurgence, the only way is up.

The article itself doesn’t offer any evidence that this is correct. And anyone who has met LP reps may well find this an unlikely thesis. If there’s one feature of that party that comes across loud and clear it is a deep rooted hostility to Sinn Féin. On paper it would make some sense for the LP, given its reduced circumstances, to align at least party with SF. But can’t see it happening. More likely is a slow drawing together of the LP and the SDs. But even there that is less likely today than it was eight months ago with the SDs pleased with their local and general election results and with a sense that they’re now a larger small party than they had expected to be prior to those elections. Indeed in truth fragmentation seems to be the name of the game, with the possibility that an SF that can draw even further ahead might leave those smaller parties – and the GP too – sidelined completely.

What you want to say – 28 October 2020 October 28, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

Debate or divisions? October 27, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Hadn’t realised this:

While there is uncritical support for Shared Island within the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, several TDs have privately questioned the Taoiseach’s commitment to Fianna Fáil’s core policy of a united Ireland.Several have also argued a Border poll should take place within the next decade.

And:

Laois-Offaly TD Barry Cowen has said he strongly supports the Shared Ireland initiative as recommitment to the Belfast Agreement. He added he agreed with former taoiseach Bertie Ahern that there should be a poll on the 30th anniversary of the agreement in 2028.

That’s an interesting proposal re a 30th anniversary poll.

A silent majority in favour of pandemic protections… October 27, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Can’t say I’m very surprised at the news, noted by ASF in comments, from the SBP that polling by RedC on their behalf supplies the following;

The Business Post Red/C poll asked 1,000 adults if they favoured a “circuit breaker” involving level 5 restrictions for 2-3 weeks. Some 66 per cent were in favour, with just 18 per cent opposed and 12 per cent neutral.

And:

Support and opposition to fines broke down along the exact same levels. The Dáil approved a bill last week to impose on-the-spot fines of €500 for people who breach the 5km travel restriction and a fine of €1,000 on the organisers of house parties.

Interesting point here:

Dr Pete Lunn, the head of the ESRI’s behavioural research unit, said today’s poll was an indication that a “silent majority” of the public was supportive of level 5 restrictions, despite strong complaints from some businesses forced to shut down.

And Lunn notes: “There’s huge sympathy for them [the businesses], but it has distorted the public debate because the ordinary citizens who are scared of this and want the second surge flattened more quickly, nobody articulates that. They are all just at home,”

The age divide is less pronounced than might be expected:

Some 73 per cent of those over 55 were in favour of stronger actions compared with 59 per cent of 18-34 year olds.

Tellingly:

However, while 41 per cent of people polled by Red C believe that the schools should remain open at all costs, another 34 per cent of people want them shut immediately to stop the spread of the virus.

In other words those polled take a pragmatic but cautious view of matters seeking protections. One imagines that were that ‘open at all costs’ line were to be subject to a demonstration of what costs might actually be there’d be a change of heart there. But thankfully transmission in such settings remains low.

All these attitudes outlined here remain in the majority despite and ranged against them/us, a cohort of media columnists, politicians and business interests pushing a line of ‘living with the virus’, an approach that the events of the past three months have demonstrated are essentially unattainable – that with every reopening within which the virus exists, given the broader lack of testing and tracing capacity and so on, it is impossible to prevent it from spreading (telling line from those pushing back against the poll on various social media saying that it only asked about 2-3 weeks of restrictions instead of 5. Unfortunately for that line it ignores the immediate follow up question ‘I would be willing to abide by Level 3 or higher restrictions at Christmas time if still required’ where 72% supported that proposition, 15% did not and 10% were neutral).

I can’t understand the appetite amongst some for continuing with a situation where the virus circulates and with the necessary controls and restrictions that that entails, as against seeking to quash it to the lowest possible level and then contain it with better protocols, or even to eliminate it to all intents and purposes. Of course the latter course would be difficult, and might not achieve its goal, but it would offer a better prospect of something akin to ‘normal’ than the supposed ‘living with the virus’ approach of so many in those circles mentioned above.

WhatsApp…. October 27, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Got sent one of the Fine Gael anti Sinn Féin videos via WhatsApp. Forwarded to a non politicial group. I hadn’t got an unsolicited party politicial video before via WhatsApp. Have had loads of shite sent but not that! I wonder is it a new departure, send to members and get them to forward on to their circles and so on.

By doing it now is it an attempt to normalise them by the time the next election comes along. I gather Bolsonaro used WhatsApp to a massive extent.
Have you got Irish party politicial videos via WhatsApp?

On the content, it’s so interesting looking at the polls and FG seem to be reading the future better than FF. The next election will be fought between SF and either FF or FG with a battle to be the more anti SF of the two. Fine Gael has been attacking Sinn Féin not just in the Dáil but have been doing it very effectively on Social Media too. It’s not to win votes from Sinn Féin but to win votes from those that don’t like Sinn Féin.

Projection and misinterpretation October 26, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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Got to ask, in what other media outlet would someone who had offered an analysis that was flawed from the off – that is saying that Covid-19 was less bad than influenza – be given not just one but two opportunities to air their views. Why none other than that Irish middleclass and liberal bastion, the Irish Times!


For Dr. Martin Feeley, once of the HSE, is back. And this time projecting much, one suspects. For example…

Media commentary also serves to promote and perpetuate the scaremongering with continued newscast leading with daily case numbers. The vast majority of whom are totally unaffected by the viral presence and the only consequence of which is a positive; i.e., immunity for them and added safety for their at-risk relatives and friends. The two principle scare tactic weapons are “Cases” and “Mortality”.

Two points. He cannot state that ‘added safety’ is correct in regard of at-risk relatives and friends since the disease must work its way through those people safely and not be spread to those who are at-risk. As for immunity – we do not know, he cannot state, that immunity is long-lasting. Therefore it makes sense to err on the side of caution in that regard. And finally in this particular context, he makes no mention of serious non-lethal effects and impacts of Covid-19 which do affect younger cohorts of people. This from the Atlantic:

For men in their 30s, like me, about 1.2 percent of COVID-19 infections result in hospitalization, according to a July study published in Science. Once the disease has progressed to this point, the risk of chronic illness soars. Research from Italy found that roughly nine in 10 hospitalized patients said they still had symptoms after two months. A British study reported a similar risk of long-term illness.

Secondly, who is ‘scared’ as distinct from careful? I’ve spoken to not one person who I could characterise as scared or panic-stricken since the early days of the first lock-down. Resigned I think would be a better characterisation, but the sub-editors at the IT are certainly having a field day…

We must de-terrorise a nation which is scared close to panic

There’s no evidence at all for that assertion. The polling data from the SBP/RedC doesn’t indicate any such attitude. So why is it published as if it were fact?

Sadly Dr. Feeley’s propensity to understate the nature of virulence of Covid-19 continues apace. For example he states ‘In early March there were predictions of Covid-19 deaths in excess of 80,000 for the Republic of Ireland.’ But this prediction was about the situation in the event of no control measures. Hence a lockdown.

He references the following which has been questioned very critically by many including people whose work is referenced within it (as noted here):

The World Health Organization Bulletin on October 15th 2020 published a report by the highly respected Stanford research expert Dr J Ioannidis which reports an overall Case Fatality Rate of 0.27 per cent. This is based on antibody studies from around the world.

He states…

Finally, there is one significant implication the present strategy which is in the “Appalling Vista” category. Apologies for going back to 2017-18 ‘flu season but, the HSE published (December 2018) the recorded data which showed a mortality (CFR) of 2.14 per cent; that is almost 10-fold higher than for Covid-19. Undoubtedly, this is an overestimate but there was a vaccine.

Indeed there was. But parse those numbers. In 2017/18 (you can read the HPSC outline here) the HPSC noted:

During the 2017/2018 influenza season,of the11,889 influenza cases notified,255(2%)cases were reported as having died, the highest number of influenza deaths recorded in any season(table 6).

In the space of time since late March we’ve had 57,000 confirmed cases and 1,882 deaths. That last is 3.3% of 57,000. I am unable to quite understand how he works out that the mortality rate for Covid-19 is 10-fold lower than flu. Indeed the HPSC stated earlier this month that the CFR for Covid-19 is 4.33% (and globally it is around 2.7%). In general terms the CFR for influenza is about 0.1%. There’s good work BTL by some in parsing out why his numbers are incorrect. But in a way none of us reading this should read anything where something is difficult to understand. The IT itself should be considering them and very very closely in order to ensure no misinformation is put out.

There’s odd asides too…

So, the question is this; whenever there is influenza with a similar virulence to 2017-18 (every 5-10 years) or very severe (every 40-50 years) are we going to lock down the country for 6 months including schools as the children will be chief vectors?

But the thing is – schools aren’t locked down this time. So why mention it?


What is truly bizarre is this. Dr. Feeley must be aware that WHO, who he quotes when he wants to, and national governments and health authorities and experts planet-wide overwhelmingly agree that the virus is dangerous, significantly more lethal than influenza and are acting accordingly. It’s baffling why he ignores all this or feels it incumbent upon himself to minimize the seriousness of it. Nor does he appear troubled by the transmissability of the virus, or the exponential nature of its spread and the implications of same for the health service and the wider society in a context of looser controls. And he ignores completely the impact on younger people or the experience internationally at the moment.

ILA Podcast #13: Brian Hanley: The Lost Revolution – The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party October 26, 2020

Posted by Aonrud ⚘ in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.
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Direct download:
Mp3 format (52.32 MB)
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In this episode we talk to historian Brian Hanley about The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party, the book which he co-authored with Scott Millar, published in 2009. We discuss the history of Official Republicanism from the move to the Left in the 1960s up to the contemporary, and how Brian and Scott went about researching and writing the history of that movement.

Brian Hanley is Assistant Professor in Twentieth Century Irish History in the Department of History, Trinity College Dublin. His other books include The IRA, 1926-1936 (2002), A Documentary History of the IRA, 1916-2005 (2010) and The impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland, 1968-79: boiling volcano? (2018).

The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party is published by Penguin .


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