Revellers queue for Copper Face Jacks, Dublin last month
In the Irish Times:
Olga Cronin (Olga!), of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, writes:
To assess the proportionality of the Covid pass system, evidence must be established to demonstrate both effectiveness and assess the negative impact on rights. These tests, to ensure compliance with human rights, can be determined only by regular review of the system.
Since its introduction in July 2021, there has not been any such review or any evidence seen of the extent to which the Covid pass system has curbed Covid-19.
Vaccines are not mandatory in Ireland. To mandate them would raise serious ethical and legal questions about consent. As such, enforcing a vaccine passport disproportionately affects the fundamental rights of those unvaccinated.
Crucially, unlike many other EU countries, Ireland’s vaccine passport does not include an option for negative testing. This omission is particularly perplexing given our extremely high vaccination rate, and the fact that the underpinning legislation provides for the possibility that testing could be included in the system.
Although there are varying levels of vaccination across different jurisdictions, Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Luxembourg, Galicia and Canary Islands in Spain, and France all include testing where access restrictions are imposed based on health status. When Denmark used a pass, it included testing. The Israeli system includes a 72-hour pass via testing.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) wrote to the Government in August to ask if and when this would be given effect. We have not received a response.
Including a testing option provides the least restrictive or infringing measure on people’s right to decide not to be vaccinated. It also provides for people who cannot receive the vaccination. It’s one of the reasons why testing was included in the EU digital Covid certificate.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly was wrong when he told the Dáil in July when passing the Bill underpinning the cert that “the entire EU digital Covid certificate is based on vaccination status”.
The very regulation underpinning the EU certificate states:
“It is necessary to prevent direct or indirect discrimination against persons who are not vaccinated, for example, because of medical reasons, because they are not part of the target group for which the Covid-19 vaccine is currently administered or allowed, such as children, or because they have not yet had the opportunity or choose not to be vaccinated.”
Indeed, the inclusion of testing was one of the main reasons the supreme court in Spain and the constitutional court in France ruled in favour of permitting such systems for a limited period in Galicia and France….[more at link below]