Eamonn Kelly: Arms And The Men


From top: Taoiseach Micheál Martin (left) and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar; Eamonn Kelly

Leo Varadkar’s and Simon Coveney’s threat to deprive people of vaccination if they refuse the Astra Zeneca vaccine has raised some interesting questions which no one can seem to answer.

Firstly, unvaccinated people are a potential health risk to the wider community. So, by refusing to vaccinate some if they choose not to opt for the blood clotting risk – and remember, Denmark has completely dropped Astra Zeneca for that very reason – the FG politicians are basically holding the entire community to ransom to force a targeted cohort – the over-60s – into taking what is actually the cheapest vaccine option.

For The Plebs

Of the available vaccines, the Astra-Zeneca appears to be the budget variety. The yellow pack vaccine. It is cheap and easy to store. It is unlikely, though this is not proven, that people of say a better class, would actually take this stuff. But it’s ideal for the plebs and is the cornerstone of the UK’s efforts to control the spread of the virus. Sure, you might lose a few plebs in the process, but what’s a lost pleb between high-born notables?

However, Soren Brostrom of the Danish Health agency told a news conference that results of investigations into the Astra-Zeneca vaccine “showed real and serious side-effects.”

That was Wednesday April 14. What did the Irish government do? Did they rush to protect the public from these real and serious side-effects? Of course not. The following day the two Fine Gael head honchos, Varadkar and Coveney, issued a general threat to the over-60s to take their budget medicine or get no medicine at all.

The over 60s are coincidentally the same cohort of people whose pensions Fine Gael have been targeting for so long now as “unaffordable” in Ireland’s generous multi-national tax haven.

And what happened to the my-body my-choice idea so central to claims of gender equality? Does that not apply on a medicine with a proven health risk? Does it not apply to over-60s? Is it only a feminist and LGBT thing? Can Fine Gael simply dictate that fundamental right out of existence on a whim?

Telling It Like It Isn’t

I watched RTÉ news to see how they might handle this story. The short answer is, they didn’t. They mentioned it, twice, in headlines, and David McCullough even gave it a raised eyebrow which, in fairness, is hardly investigative journalism. They mentioned the tánaiste twice in the course of the show, and didn’t mention the taoiseach at all. Eventually, way down the play list, they put the question to Paul Reid of the HSE who swallowed lumpily on a few occasions as he managed to wriggle out of giving an opinion on the matter.

RTÉ have a cute way of dealing with news items that can’t be avoided but have to be mentioned anyway. The Irish Times does something similar. It’s like a magician’s trick, you simply slide away from the story into another story. The Irish Times tends to slide from stories that make Fine Gael look bad into somehow criticising Sinn Féin.

But RTÉ have a different set of subjects to slide into which could be generally described as trendy right-on subjects such as gender and racial equality and people doing something positive. These get everyone looking the other way while the magic happens.

Watching it is like being cheated with the same cheap trick time and time again in the unspoken understanding that you will pretend not to notice in order to be agreeable.

I waited until Prime Time where at least the presenter got the problem, the take it or leave it attitude, but Stephen Donnelly simply couldn’t see what the fuss was about. And no one, neither politicians or journalists, could apparently see that by refusing to vaccinate unless the person accepted Astra-Zeneca unconditionally, that this neglect could have an adverse effect on the wider community.

Budget Threats

Stephen Donnelly said that the decision to vaccinate over-60s with the Astra Zeneca vaccine is based on best current medical advice. But he should have been more specific by saying, best advice as it pertains to Ireland. In Denmark, clearly, best medical advice is to avoid the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

Neither was there any problem seen by Donnelly with the spectacle of a pair of privileged right-wing politicians essentially dictating an ultimatum to a section of the public. The fact that none of the politicians could see a problem in this is actually a major problem.

From the people who brought you low wages, privatisation, no housing, deprivation of public services and blame, they now offer a direct authoritarian dictate to either take your medicine or walk.

At least the mask is finally off.

The Real Taoiseach

By the way it now seems certain that Micheál Martin, taoiseach, doesn’t actually exist, but is merely a clever Fine Gael hologram used as an occasional decoy to distract the public from the activities of Leo Varadkar, tánaiste, who is actually the real taoiseach, operating under an assumed title and groomed by the RTÉ news department, which is really a cover for Varadkar’s private public relations unit.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance Writer and Playwright.

Previously: Eamonn Kelly on Broadsheet



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23 thoughts on “Eamonn Kelly: Arms And The Men

  1. Charger Salmons

    So the Danes have ” suspicions ” but have so far not published any clear scientific evidence.
    My solution is simple – offer the AZ vaccine to anyone who is prepared to accept it after they have signed a waiver form.
    But of course that would require bold and imaginative leadership.
    Ireland’s leadership appears to be to wait and see what everyone else is doing.

  2. Booger

    “unvaccinated people are a potential health risk to the wider community.”

    Is Kelly a medical specialist?

    Or a clown?

    1. Micko

      I have to say that this statement had me flummoxed too.

      How are they a risk to the greater community when none of the vaccines claim to stop people spreading Covid?

      I love how he employs the “my body my choice” idea when it comes to the type of vaccine one should receive.

      But not in the idea that the same principle should apply if one chose NOT to have a vaccine at all.

      In other words, you’re getting the jab whether you like it or not, but don’t worry – you can choose which jab you get.

      Clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

      And some of you guys give out about Bodger’s quality of posts? Jesus H Christ.

      1. Joe

        Anyone who cares about there fellow citizens should be vaccinated.

        “A leaked scientific report jointly prepared by Israel’s health ministry and Pfizer claims that the company’s covid-19 vaccine is stopping nine out of 10 infections and the country could approach herd immunity by next month. The study, based on the health records of hundreds of thousands of Israelis, finds that the vaccine may sharply curtail transmission of the coronavirus. “High vaccine uptake can meaningfully stem the pandemic and offers hope for eventual control of the pandemic as vaccination programs ramp up across the rest of the world,” according to the authors.”

        “Covid-19: Study showing Oxford vaccine slows virus spread ‘superb”

        Pfizer’s vaccine appears to reduce coronavirus transmission
        Vaccinated people tend to carry less virus in their bodies than unvaccinated people, studies show

        1. Micko

          Jeez Joe

          Did you even read those articles before you read them or did you just scramble to fine something to contradict me?

          Quotes like “ Pfizer did not confirm the authenticity of the study document” and lots of “might” stop transmitting covid and “appears” to stop covid.

          So yep.

          If you want to protect yourself from Covid – get the jab. And stop pressuring those who don’t want it to get it.

          They are not responsible for the health of others.

        2. Cui Bono?

          “Anyone who cares about there fellow citizens should be vaccinated.”

          A disgraceful and ignorant comment.

          An attempt to emotionally blackmail people who are not at any meaningful risk to covid into taking an experimental gene therapy vaccine that doesn’t even complete clinical trials until 2023.

          I’m not even anti-vax. There’s some great vaccines. I’m 100% pro safe and effective vaccines but will no way be taking any vaccine for covid because:

          1. I’m not at risk to covid. Calculate your risk here https://qcovid.org/Home/AcademicLicence?licencedUrl=%2FCalculation

          2. I will not risk my health taking something I do not need with unknown medium and long term effects.

          3. None of these vaccines stop you catching covid or passing it on. They are only reducing the possibility of severe illness but most people do not get severe illness in the first place and we are coming into summer now so the cases are falling anyway. Everyone I know who had covid, even in their 70s, were completely fine after 4 or 5 days.

          Also, the only 2 people I know who died WITH covid, did not die FROM covid. They were both in their 80s already in hospital dying and happened to test positive. It’s a bloody disgrace to count them as covid deaths.

      2. U N M U T U A L

        Remember the previous narrative, “assume that you have it”… Perhaps he’s alluding to how this concept ties into the government’s ‘Ransomware’ strategy… and that your potential infected status can only be mitigated on their terms. A hard sell based on social coercion.?

  3. Nilbert

    “Of the available vaccines, the Astra-Zeneca appears to be the budget variety. The yellow pack vaccine. It is cheap and easy to store. It is unlikely, though this is not proven, that people of say a better class, would actually take this stuff.”

    So are we not buying the Pfizer one, or the Moderna one, or waiting on approval for the J&J one?
    Has there been a change in policy whereby people are allowed to choose which vaccine they get, or are assigned a different one based on being a ‘pleb’ or not? Or are you just waffling?

  4. Joe

    Excellent article by Eamonn and the point he makes “Neither was there any problem seen by Donnelly with the spectacle of a pair of privileged right-wing politicians essentially dictating an ultimatum to a section of the public. ”

    This is exactly how the FFG government behave as they condescendingly impose their anti citizen measures in the areas of health, housing, living wage etc on the general public while enriching and looking after the privileged few in their inner circle.

  5. U N M U T U A L

    Here’s something I’ve been wondering for the past year.
    I’m sure I’m not alone in asking… When did everyone start believing in what irish politicians had to say? Where did this new found trust come from? Is this a new phenomenon? How has it come about? How was it induced?

    To quote writer Frank Herbert… “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.”

    Fear affects rationality, fear of the unknown and fear of rejection are also powerful motivators… years of irish history and hard evidence have shown us that these political used car dealers should be kept at arms length, at all times…
    It’s not bad enough that they’re trying to flog a second hand jab, but one that’s a potential cut & shut.
    Perhaps its worth waiting and shopping around.,
    maybe steer clear of the TKmax Vax.

    1. george

      A cut and shut? How is a vaccine half of two cars welded together? What are you talking about?

      1. U N M U T U A L

        It’s not, it’s a Metaphor for dodgy sales techniques surrounding a dubious product… ‘blood clotting risk – and remember, Denmark has completely dropped Astra Zeneca’. Ireland is still pushing said goods.

        Think along the lines of Sharp Practice… “Sharp practice may include making misleading statements or threats, ignoring agreements, improperly using process, or employing other tricky and/or dishonorable means barely within the law.”

      2. Ben Madigan

        The equivalent of a “cut and shut” would be giving people the first dose of a vaccine from one manufacturer, and then deciding to give them a second dose of a different vaccine from another manufacturer, without any scientific backup…

  6. george

    If you refuse a vaccine there isn’t an alternative one waiting there to give to you so yes of course you will have to wait. There is a scarcity of vaccines.

  7. Jimmy the mink

    This week, we are taking a break from our usual “the state isn’t giving me enough” and “I’m expected to seek work on jobseekers!” broadcasting to bring you “I don’t think your vaccine is good enough for me”!

Comments are closed.

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