Disingenuous To A Fault



On last night’s Tonight with Vincent Browne, Vincent was joined by UCD lecturer Ailbhe Smyth and John McGuirk to review the newspapers.

The discussion turned to Paul Cullen’s story in the Irish Times of staff in University Hospital Galway being disciplined in relation to the care of Savita Halappanavar.

Watch in full here.

Hospital staff in Savita Halappanavar case ‘disciplined’ after review (Paul Cullen, Irish Times)

Previously: When Dr Boylan Met Dr Kiely

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54 thoughts on “Disingenuous To A Fault

  1. Piotr

    True enough. Man falls in kitchen after eating Weetabix. They’re sequential, but the first didn’t necessarily cause the second. It could have, but that would be speculative.

    Also, fair focks to McGuirk, he’s got guts.

    1. Major Thrill

      He’s a paid PR man for the Iona/Ganley end of the social and political spectrum. A one man astroturfing campaign if you will.

    2. Rumpleforeskin

      John McGuirk is a real piece of sh*t. Vincent should have vetoed him from ever being on the show. He’s a mouthpiece for the worst parts of Irish society. He and ABM are pretty much the same person.

  2. Llareggub

    John McGuirk is vile. If you look at his Facebook page he ‘favourites’ – “I’d be arrested for the stuff I want to do to Cheryl Cole” which gives us some indication as to how he views women. Skin crawling stuff.

      1. Sidewinder

        By “personal attack” do you actually mean “fair criticism”? They’re not calling him fat or something, they’re saying stuff he says about women indicates a piss poor view of women.

        1. Odis

          I’d tend to agree with that statement in general. But then I thought that’s a bit of a generalisation.
          In truth I have a piss poor view Cheryl Cole, but I do find her sexually attractive.
          Where am I going wrong?

        2. Odis

          Sorry, was really addressing LLareggubs comment there, I just watched the clip. This guy is a professional loathsome toad. I’ll get my coffee.

      1. Llareggub

        I have no problem with fantasies in themselves but I do find it disturbing coming from someone like. John who has displayed such obvious hatred and condescension towards women. I find him vile for many other reasons. Misogynists who fantasise about women view them as inferior beings who need to be controlled and cannot make decisions for themselves.

      2. figleaf

        You can have all the harmless fantasies you like, but if you’re having the type which would see you arrested – that’s vile.

    1. Eve

      In fairness though, I’d be arrested for the things I want to do to John McGuirk… None of which would be sexual, granted

      1. junglemick

        In some societies, post-aggression urination is in fact regarded as a sexual act (albeit not with any real degree of tenderness).

    1. Odis

      You get a lot of this sort of thing from professional wind up artists nowadays. It’s this years thing.
      You can find all the smartarse ways to refute an argument on the” Welcome to Poll” illustration on http://boards.4chan.org/pol/

      And incidentally they also include the one about making yourself sound more clever than you actually are.
      (e.g. Just because the Israeli shill on Broadsheet accuses you of using an “ad hominem” doesn’t mean that your argument is wrong and he is not a ****.)

      What he is doing, with his comment about correlation and causality, make him sound clever but it is a load of crap. A diversion.
      The Savita case isn’t about black and white (binary issues) and can’t possibly be understood in these terms.
      Its about many, many shades of grey. We don’t and can’t use philosophical approaches to deal with life’s complex problems.

  3. well

    I’m still wondering why the prolife brigade haven’t sacked him, he comes across as completely lacking empathy , it’s a wonder he does PR.

    1. Llareggub

      Communication Clinic also do PR and are totally lacking empathy. Think it goes with the territory. It’s all about deflection.

  4. Aunt Fló

    Re pro-choicers ‘exploiting’ the death of Savita Halappanavar:

    ‘I was watching the news on the Saturday evening and there was this big pro-life rally in Castlebar, in Enda Kenny’s home town. I think about 2,000 people were there and it was big on the news. I saw all these banners in the report about the people being anti-abortion. So I thought the other side, the pro-choice people, might be able to give us some information about abortion in Ireland.’ (Dr Chalikonda Prasad, family friend)

    ‘Maybe Savita was born to change the law here.’ (Praveen Halappanavar, husband)

    ‘If the Irish law on abortion is changed, I would think my daughter has been sacrificed for a good cause.’ (Andanappa Yalagi, father)

    ‘I know too the family in India were very appreciateive of that vigil [in remembrance of Savita] in Galway and they had no problem with the Irish people. It was the whole dilemma of the Irish system.’ (Loveena Tandon, India Today journalist)

    Savita Halappanavar’s family and friends came directly to Galway Pro-Choice to get her story out. This ‘exploiting’ her case has always been nothing but lying bullsh1t.

    1. well

      You want to see exploitation? youth defence decided to name the baby boy “hope” and they are ,along with prolife campaign, collecting donations supposedly on it’s behalf meanwhile lambasting prochoice people claiming we’re all demanding 25 week abortions, as opposed to abortions much earlier when the girl asked one.

    2. Aunt Fló

      Re S.H. dying as a result of sepsis, not Ireland’s abortion laws, yes, she died from sepsis. She likely wouldn’t have contracted sepsis had she not been left lying in a hospital bed for days–in severe pain–with ruptured membranes because of the presence of a foetal heartbeat, despite the knowledge that there was no chance of a successful birth. She was left to languish for days, her uterus exposed to infection, BECAUSE OF IRELAND’S ABORTION LAWS. It is very clear that an abortion was denied because a dying foetus had not yet died. It is very clear that almost anywhere else in the developed world she would have been trusted to know that something was terribly wrong, as Ailbhe says, and granted the abortion she needed.

      Failures in her care were certainly a factor in her death. Failure to provide an abortion was also a factor, a more significant and an entirely preventable factor but for our laws, in her contracting the infection that killed her. You don’t need to be a medic to understand this.

      1. Llareggub

        Exactly and well said. The sepsis was exacerbated when it could have been reduced had the pregnancy been terminated as requested.

      2. Lilly

        You’re wrong here Aunt Flo, and I say this as someone who is pro-choice. Best practice in Savita’s situation would have been to let nature take it’s course. See vg documentary broadcast on TV3 some months ago. Medical negligence was the problem here, not our abortion legislation.

        1. well

          “Best practice in Savita’s situation would have been to let nature take it’s course. ” but thats what they did though, now she’s dead.

          1. Lilly

            Yes, that’s true. A midwife did say this to Savita and was brave enough to admit as much in the Coroner’s court. The midwife in question may well have believed this was the reason behind the refusal to terminate but the medics were simply following best practice. Sometimes things get confused along the chain of command in all sorts of scenarios and this seems to have been no different.

        2. Aunt Fló

          It wasn’t a very good documentary. It was a rather poor documentary. The narrator repeated unquestioningly and repeatedly the lie about maternal mortality–Ireland is the safest place in the world to have a baby–while focusing on pictures of heavily pregnant women and prams on the streets of Dublin. But for the presence of Peter Boylan, it was almost like an anti-choice PSA.

          1. Buzz

            What was the lie about maternal mortality – is Ireland not a safe place to have a baby, is India safer? I normally find Peter Boylan informative but he seemed really shifty in that documentary. Overall I thought the documentary parsed the events sequentially, in a non-hysterical manner, and seemed balanced. Why did you think it was poor? I seem to recall it went on for an hour and repetition would have made it boring, which it was not.

          2. Aunt Fló

            I remember it being repeated. I couldn’t tell you the exact number of times and I’m not going to watch the documentary again. It was hardly ten, but I mean it was three or four times if I remember correctly, from both narrator and contributors, which is a lot of emphasis to put on what is mere anti-choice sophistry. ARC did a very thorough post on it (http://www.abortionrightscampaign.ie/2014/03/06/myth-6-ireland-without-abortion-has-the-lowest-maternal-mortality-rate-in-the-world/) and, if I remember correctly, Fintan O’Toole did a decent piece on it a while back.

            In response to your Qs, if you read the above blog post, it should be clear: Ireland is a pretty safe place to give birth, much like any developed country. (Although with the recent baby death cases and the state of hospitals and health services around the country…) It ain’t special. Even accepting that we have an above-par MMR for a developed country (which we don’t, really), to say it’s because we ban abortion is just categorically wrong. Not an educated guess. Not a reasonable hunch. Wrong. And you’re right in what you imply, India has a higher MMR than Ireland. This isn’t because India has more liberal abortion laws. Probably has something to do with the fact that as an NIC India doesn’t have the quality health system of a fully developed country!

          3. Buzz

            You haven’t answered my question: what was the lie about maternal mortality being parlayed? The repetition or otherwise of about how safe a place Ireland is to have a baby is not the issue in my view, but in what way does the assertion amount to “anti-choice sophistry”? I ask because although I’m pro-choice I’m not an activist so it’s possible that I’m being manipulated without realising it.

            What the documentary achieved in my view was it combed through events surrounding Savita’s death in a systematic way and made nonsense of the way it had been portrayed in the media up to that point. She died as a result of medical negligence. Up til then, I like many others, believed she died because she had been refused an abortion.

            How can you state, “She was left to languish for days, her uterus exposed to infection, BECAUSE OF IRELAND’S ABORTION LAWS” when it is clearly untrue?

          4. Lilly

            That both sides on the abortion debate misrepresent the facts to pursue their own agenda pisses me off. If we look at the Savita tragedy with a cool head, it’s clear in hindsight that it was yet another case of people failing on the job. If she had been monitored properly, she would still be alive. F*ck people for trying to hijack that sad failure to their own ends.

          5. Aunt Fló

            Sorry, I thought I had answered the question. The lie is the implication that abortion bans are somehow linked to lower maternal mortality rates. That’s not true. The narrator didn’t say something as blunt as ‘Ireland’s maternal mortality rate is low because of our abortion ban’, but I felt the implied causality was clear. It gave a chart and everything. Then you had some talking heads going on about MMRs for what I remember was an inordinately long time. I tried to look for the documentary again there, but there now only seems to be a trailer for it on YouTube, so I’m sorry my recollection is so vague. As you say, though, it’s not the issue. There’s no reason to bring MMRs into the discussion. The only reason I can see for its inclusion in the documentary is that either the filmmaker was biased in favour of an anti-choice position, or she was impartial (or at least trying to be impartial) but was duped into thinking this has any relevance to ‘the abortion debate’ in the same way you fear you’re being manipulated, if I understand you. (That’s the ‘tell a lie often enough and it will become the truth’ idea.) To be honest, and I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I got a distinct whiff of the former when I watched the documentary, but that’s my own conjecture!

            Now, this myth is always closely linked to the ‘she didn’t die because of our abortion laws, she died from clinical mismanagement’ stuff. Pay close attention any time you hear anti-choicers on the radio or telly. One of these pieces of sophistry is nearly always followed by the other. If you presume they’re true, they do follow logically. What I said isn’t ‘clearly untrue’. I don’t know how you can say that, unless you’re practising the kind of anti-choice semantic evasion tactic of ‘she didn’t die of a lack of an abortion, she died from complications arising from her treatment’ . Which is like saying someone who, say, died from a form of cancer because the requisite equipment to treat the type of cancer wasn’t available in Ireland didn’t die from the lack of equipment being available because an inquest showed that she died from cancer, and we therefore don’t need to provide the equipment because she died from cancer, not the lack of equipment. Ridiculous sentence, but do you see what I’m getting at? It’s the chain of events you need to consider. Inevitable miscarriage, woman in pain, foetus dying -> wait till we’re sure foetus is dead BECAUSE IT’S THE LAW, leaving the woman lying miscarrying on a hospital bed WITH RUPTURED MEMBRANES (highly increased risk of infection) for DAYS -> severe sepsis and E. coli infection facilitated by uterus being open to infection as a result of ruptured membranes -> death. Note that none of this conflicts with acknowledging that there was mismanagement in her case, which there was.

            I think your honesty in saying that you fear you’re being manipulated without realising it is really telling. I’m not going to presume to tell you whether you’re right or wrong on that, but I do believe this is the intent and, unfortunately, the result of the anti-choice campaign. The abortion war in Ireland is a propaganda war. And one side is frighteningly good at it.

            I don’t see how the treatment of the story in the media amounted to nonsense… But I’m tired and don’t want to talk about abortion anymore so I’ll let that go!

          6. Aunt Fló

            Lilly, seriously, I know you mean well, but read what I wrote re alleged hijacking. Pro-choicers categorically, factually, incontestably did NOT hijack the death of Savita Halappanavar, and to say this disregards the expressed wishes of her family and friends.

          7. Buzz

            In a sense, it doesn’t really matter whether or not I’m being subtly manipulated because I’m pro-choice and that’s the way I’m going to stay. Having said that, I like to establish the truth where possible.

            You say:
            “Inevitable miscarriage, woman in pain, foetus dying -> wait till we’re sure foetus is dead BECAUSE IT’S THE LAW, leaving the woman lying miscarrying on a hospital bed WITH RUPTURED MEMBRANES (highly increased risk of infection) for DAYS -> severe sepsis and E. coli infection facilitated by uterus being open to infection as a result of ruptured membranes -> death.”

            But according to the documentary, best medical practice where miscarriage is inevitable is not to intervene but to wait and allow the body to expel the foetus. In other words, the medics were not waiting to ‘make sure the foetus is dead because it’s the law’, but were allowing the body to miscarry naturally.

            A lot hinges on this. If indeed it is best practice, the abortion or lack of is irrelevant.

          8. Lilly

            @ Aunt Flo: If we accept that this was a clear-cut case of medical negligence, ie if we accept the coroner’s findings, hijacking went on, maybe not intentional at first since the facts were not established until later – but certainly after the inquest.

          9. Aunt Fló

            @ Lilly: The inquest was never going to make a finding to the effect that the constitutional ban on abortion affected Savita Halappanavar’s treatment one way or the other as that would have been completely outside its terms of reference. It wasn’t for the inquest to apportion liability or to recommend that our laws change or anything of the sort. The fact therefore that the inquest returned a verdict of medical misadventure doesn’t amount to ‘oops, it was an accident, not our abortion ban’. The inquest was charged with finding the how and the what of the death, not the broader legal factors that amount to the why.

            @ Lilly & Buzz If it’s any help, though, the HSE report, on p. 71, notes: ‘International best practice includes expediting delivery [i.e. abortion] in this clinical situation of an inevitable miscarriage at 17 weeks with prolonged rupture of the membranes and infection in the uterus because of the risk to the mother if the pregnancy is allowed to continue.’ Buzz, I seem to remember someone saying that in the documentary about leaving the product of a septic abortion (in the medical sense of miscarriage) to float about in her womb, all the while leaving her membranes ruptured. Fab idea altogether. One of the reasons why I got the sense there were dark forces behind the programme! Such nonsense, absolutely contradicted by international guidelines on chorioamnionitis. The problem is that our abortion ban makes making this call a risky business for medics. It’s not just pregnant women who are threatened with lengthy prison terms if they procure abortions; the doctors providing them fall under the same penalty. The 2013 Act doesn’t change this. We’re therefore left with the basic false dichotomy between risk to health and risk to life. Where does one end and the other begin? That question has NEVER been answered. And it never will be. Because you can’t. And if a medic acts to save a woman’s life and it’s later decided that she wasn’t dying ENOUGH, the medic can theoretically end up in jail.

            I hope that’s clear… Seriously, though, I’m done. I’m going for a walk because it’s sunny out. :) So no more replies from me.

          10. Lilly

            Thanks for taking the time to explain all this Aunt Flo. So in other words, the Indian gynaecologist in the documentary was talking through her arse when she maintained that non-intervention constituted international best practice in such cases? She seemed so authorative, and because she was head gynaecologist or some such, I presumed she knew what she was talking about.

  5. Shamie

    Why do people react to this particular contributor when it is crystal clear that boorish provocation is his sole strategy for achieving some sort of relevance and prominence?

    Sigh. I’ve just done it too, haven’t I?

  6. Mick Flavin

    John McGuirk derives his life-force from negative reactions to his public persona.

    Personally, I’d like to take him for a really good meal, gaze into his eyes as he spits bits of steak into my face while ranting about a topic of his choosing, carry him home in my arms overwhelmed by his powerful musk, then lay him down and make love to him, the kind of love where I can no longer tell where my body ends and his begins, melding my psyche with his…

    Somewhere in Dublin, John McGuirk clutches his temples, feels an unexplained drain on his vital forces…

        1. Mani

          The fish wasn’t the only thing battered that night, Mick tittered as he remembered Tom feigning disinterest when they returned to his Berlingo. ‘I’ve to be at Montrose in the morning’ he said, staring out at the windscreen wipers, hypnotised by their rhythm. ‘I think we both know this won’t take too long’ said Mick, approaching Tom’s zip with an appetite that belied a man who had just put away a scampi box. Tom smiled and reclined his chair fully. ‘Permission to climb aboard, captain?’ Mick asked, dropping his head to receive Tom in his fullness. He gasped. ‘Permission…..granted’.

    1. Llareggub

      That’s disturbing and hilarious all at once, feel a little queasy after reading that! Are you wanting to love the hatred out him?

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