Wednesday, 10 August 2022

I do like to be beside the seaside....& lakes



Half time!

My turn😎



Hang'n with the cuzins on lovely Lough  Errit 🏊🎣🎸

Free rides on uncle Robert's boat: schtyle






Saturday, 6 August 2022

Wanted: A few 14 year olds & a teacher for Covid safe school in Galway

Taken from my article in today's Indo👇

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/our-children-are-at-grave-risk-of-covid-as-state-puts-profit-ahead-of-public-health-41893293.html

Read below & if interested, get in touch.

"I’ve been scouring the web to see if any school has managed to prevent outbreaks. I found one – Abrome, in Texas. How did it do it? By ignoring politicians and following the science.


Acknowledging Covid is airborne, mitigations included daily testing, mandatory FFP2/3 masks indoors and outdoors in close contact during surges, distancing, remote learning when cases were extremely high, outdoor learning options, and Hepa filtration in every classroom. If CO2 readings exceeded 800, rooms were evacuated and classes continued in sheltered outdoor spaces, also used for eating. Everyone is vaccinated.


Abrome’s ethos is that of inclusion. A Covid-safe school is accessible to everyone. The sense of collective compassion over mé féinism.


In the same way I would challenge institutional racism, I won’t participate in a system that discriminates against disabled, clinically vulnerable children and those with clinically vulnerable family. Without Covid protections, they are being robbed of their right to in-school education – indefinitely. The Ombudsman for Children told me: “A child rights-based approach needs to inform any decisions in respect of Covid.”


My son never got to know his grandparents because the State put profit before public health. I believe it’s happening again with Covid.


I can’t go to Texas, but I am going to try to create a Covid-safe educational facility here in Galway. All I need is a few 14-year-olds – and a teacher.

Our children are at grave risk of Covid as State puts profit ahead of public health

 My column in today's Indo👇

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/our-children-are-at-grave-risk-of-covid-as-state-puts-profit-ahead-of-public-health-41893293.html

It’s up to parents to risk-assess, but if we’re not allowed to know if the unmasked kid sitting next to ours who was off sick for a few days has Covid and is potentially still infectious, how can we? Nits we need to be informed of, but a highly infectious neurotropic disease that can cause organ damage, disability and death? That’s an ecumenical matter.

Many parents, sometimes emboldened by mental-health practitioners who should know better, interpret the Government’s removal of public health protections as being outside their locus of control and therefore, succumbing to the “inevitability” of infection is best. For many, due to financial or health precarity, exposure to Covid is increasingly difficult to avoid but an infection is not beneficial to mental health because; a) psychiatric disorders are common post-Covid sequelae, the risk of which increases with every infection and b) mental and physical health are inextricably linked.


Pitting one against the other, instead of advocating for both, is harmful. The World Health Organisation’s Mike Ryan recently spoke of the cumulative impact of repeated infections and negative long-term neurological and other health outcomes, warning: “You don’t want to get this disease once if you can avoid it but you don’t want to get it four times, for sure.”


"I spoke to one of Ireland’s leading children’s rights lawyers, Gareth Noble, who said: “I’m concerned we’re creating a culture of conditioning us to think Covid infections and outbreaks in schools are inevitable. They’re not. We significantly reduce risk for our children if we follow basic public health advice such as mask-wearing, contact tracing, air filtration and other measures. Any expert advice from the WHO needs to be considered and actioned. Ignoring it would be negligent.”


Interim chief medical officer Professor Breda Smyth needs to explain why she has not adopted WHO guidance in her advice to government.



Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Welcome to Ireland, the Somme of European healthcare

My article in todays Indo👇

Covid in Ireland: Ireland’s Covid war is far from over – but it feels like the generals have already capitulated - Independent.ie

‘It’s like f***ing a war zone. Casualties everywhere, wailing in agony.” Having languished on a trolley in a Covid-ridden hospital corridor for six days, immunocompromised from cancer treatment, 81-year-old Frank insisted on leaving. He would rather die at home in peace than on a hospital trolley.


Welcome to Ireland, the Somme of European healthcare. 


Frank’s daughter, Mary (my friend), and siblings have been limiting social interactions since March 2020 to shield their father. Frank finally caught Covid in the one place sick people can’t avoid: hospital".


To be fair to Frank I've reinstated the F word that got edited out!


"The Government previously brushed off calls to reinstate mask mandates, arguing it “restricted people’s liberties”. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens’ liberties have been restricted since March 2020 but as long as they’re old, disabled or vulnerable, that’s acceptable? It’s not. There’s a legal requirement to ensure protected groups are not excluded from accessing goods and services, let alone essential services, such as public transport, school and healthcare.

Removing recognised public health protections, such as masks, is not just immoral, I would even argue it’s possibly illegal. Well-fitted FFP2/3 masks, worn universally and effectively, reduce infection"


"Professor Jack Lambert, who runs a long-Covid clinic in the Mater Hospital, bucked the trend recently by saying it like it is. He described Covid-19 as a scary virus. “It damages the brain and the immune system. I continue to wear my mask. I encourage people to take this virus seriously,” he said".


"Vaccines are waning, new variants are increasingly transmissible, infections don’t confer immunity, long-Covid can result from “mild” doses and unmitigated transmission is spawning new variants and reinfections. We urgently need a Vaccine Plus strategy (masks, testing, tracing, clean air, distancing, paid isolation)".





Thursday, 16 June 2022

Jumping off the deep end!

 Great to see the lads making a splash with the auld pier jumping at the top of the boreen (& turn right😁) 💓🏊🏄



Head first 😎💪









Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Remembering Grenfell. There can be no peace without justice

 I wrote the blog below shortly after the preventable inferno at Grenfell tower that killed 72 people. 5 years on, survivors remain traumatised and without justice 💚💚


The acrid stench infused the air. The landscape, adorned with messages and memorials, struggled to reconcile the veneration of dignified grief and irreverent, visceral anger.

 I oscillated between both. Grief hung in the ether like a flammable fume. Volatile, toxic, debilitating. The photos of those whose lives were lost. The prayers, the pleas, the eulogies. The human faces behind the headlines.

 Days before, some of the dead and feared dead would have taken the train journey I just took, walked the route I just walked to get there, sat in the park around the corner that I just sat in and exchanged perfunctory pleasantries with the local shop keeper like I just did.

The photo of Isaac caught my eye. He left school at the same time as my little boy that day. He will have had his tea, maybe smearing ketchup on his school jumper, like mine did and went to bed, forgetting to brush his teeth, like mine did. Wrapped in a blanket of love he may have told the spiders lurking in a corner of his room a story, like mine did, before drifting off to sleep clutching his threadbare teddy, like mine did.

 The difference between Isaac and my child is, Isaac lived in a tower block with no fire sprinklers, exposed gas pipes, combustible cladding (cheaper than the non-combustible yet aesthetically pleasing variety) and dodgy electrics prone to potentially lethal surges.

Months later, many survivors were still homeless and dependent on sporadic, demeaning state handouts. A hundred quid here and a voucher for a hotel there. Security firms were employed, at tax payers expense, to “keep them out” of Kensington and Chelsea’s council meetings. Scenes of survivors being kettled into a public gallery, side-lined and silenced, prevented from participating in decisions about their own lives, were a national disgrace. The footage of Tory councillor, Mathew Palmer, mouthing “Don’t let them in” spoke volumes about the Tories’ contempt for humanity, decency and democracy.

 Making my way back to the tube, I was stopped in my tracks by a child. She was surveying the messages pinned to the street railings and was transfixed by an elaborate picture of a dove. She asked her Dad what the text around it said. “I don’t know love, it’s written in a foreign language”.  I squinted to read it, “It says, Suaimhneas stíoraí da anam, which is Irish for, may your souls rest in peace”.

 If the souls that perished in Grenfell and the survivors are ever to find peace, they must first be afforded  justice. The inquiry, now in its final stages, must deliver that, We owe Isaac, and all those who died with him, that much. 

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Special delivery: Leaving Cert survival pack!

Dispatched to friend's house yesterday: Chocolate chip fairy cakes & the soft scent of roses to calm the nerves. Ádh mór a ghuí ar rang 2022💟💪😊














 



Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Japan: Least restrictions, no mask mandates or lockdowns yet protected lives AND economy. How? Clear messaging & leadership

 


UK ONS study out 6 June shows Japan had the lowest stringency index of measures (least restrictions). They didn't have national restrictions and masks were never mandated. Not only was Japan's death rate far lower than their UK & elsewhere, the lower population level exposure to infection and subsequent Long-Covid, Japan also protected its economy with the lowest drop in GDP among G7. How? With clear messaging & leadership, focusing on airborne precautions (masking, distancing & ventilation) and rigorous contact tracing and isolation.

Meanwhile, in Ireland - following the UK's mass infection/let it rip model:
  • The number of Covid-19 deaths per million people is currently the highest in Europe and the seventh highest in the world, figures from Our World in Data show (Irish Times 8 June 2022)
  • at least 1.3 million people — one-quarter of the State’s population — are on some form of waiting list for health services. The figure includes more than 200,000 people waiting for treatments such as physiotherapy, dietetics or speech and language therapy, with 227,000 waiting for an X-ray, scan or other diagnostics.
  • We are now in our 3rd wave in 6 months with record numbers of our elderly & sick languishing on trollies in overcrowded SARS2 ridden hospitals with no mitigations & no government guidance or intervention. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Impunity is emboldening Israeli apartheid regime. The ICC must investigate the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces

My article in today's Indo👇

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/silence-enables-the-targeting-of-journalists-in-conflict-zones-41704495.html

RIP Shireen

"The barbarous funeral footage of frenzied Israeli police beating pallbearers with batons, lays bare the monster spawned by decades of international indifference. Emboldened by inaction, the police conducted their rampage of violence knowing the world was watching".

"Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, yet no sanctions have been imposed".

"Shireen Abu Akleh was a trailblazing, respected journalist who used her voice to amplify those of her beloved fellow Palestinians. The international community, including Ireland, must speak up now and call for sanctions against Israel. Silence and inaction kill, just as surely as a bullet in the head".

Monday, 30 May 2022

Why do 10% of traveller babies die before their 2nd birthday? Why are suicide rates 7 times higher than non-travellers? Who is accountable? Join Travellers & allies outside the Dáil tomorrow at 12noon

Mags Casey, chairperson of the National Traveller Mental Health Network lost 29 family members to suicide over 10yrs. RIP. She is calling for accountability & implementation of traveller policy. Join her, fellow travellers and traveller allies outside the Dáil tomorrow at 12 noon.


Click links to hear Mags explain how decades of institutional discrimination has led to a mental health crisis within the traveller community.


Video: Part1👇


https://twitter.com/TravellersMH/status/1531283386312146944?cxt=HHwWgIC-uY6Im8AqAAAA

 Video: Part 2👇

 https://twitter.com/TravellersMH/status/1531283700343873536

Minceir beoir Rose Marie Maughan outlines more examples of institutional discrimination here👇

https://twitter.com/Minceirbeoir/status/1530953974077087744?cxt=HHwWgICzheahhb8qAAAA

Here's an article I wrote a while back on why I'm a proud Traveller ally ✊💓

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/anti-traveller-vitriol-is-socially-acceptable-here-but-lets-call-it-what-it-is-racism-39502475.html

The BBC reported in April: Irish Travellers suffer some of the worst discrimination and poverty of any ethnic group in Europe, according to European Union research.

Members of the community have said it is causing a mental health crisis in their home country.

In Ireland, 11% die by suicide and life expectancy is up to 15 years shorter than the wider population.

Rose Marie Maughan works with the Irish Travellers Movement, a national network of over 40 organisations.

"Our suicide rate is seven times higher than non-travellers," she said.

"Only 3% of us live past the age of 65 and 80% of us are unemployed.

"If that was any other community in Ireland, there would be international attention."


Thursday, 19 May 2022

International evidence indicating possible link with SARS-Cov-2 infection to child hepatitis & variants of concern coming our way with dismantled testing & sequencing. What could possibly go wrong?

 My piece in today's Indo👇

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/given-child-hepatitis-deaths-and-ominous-omicron-warnings-are-we-not-flying-blind-41664435.html

Extract::

I’m not religious but I lit a candle for the child that died from acute hepatitis in Ireland last week. It was partly a bid to cling onto my empathy and resist the systematic minimisation of harm endured by children throughout the pandemic. 

"Vaccines have been categorically ruled out as most children were not eligible for vaccination. Lockdowns have also been dismissed; a theory German virologist Professor Isabella Eckerle lambasted as not being supported by “a single piece of scientific evidence”. Covid vaccines have also been categorically ruled out as most of the children with unexplained hepatitis were too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine".

"On 12 May, ECDC reclassified Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 (first detected in South Africa in early 2022) to variants of concern. Their growth advantage is attributed to their ability to evade immune protection induced by prior infection and/or vaccination, which wanes. Both BA.4 and BA.5 are capable of escaping immune protection induced by previous infection with BA.1 in unvaccinated people. ECDC warns that the presence of these variants could cause “a significant overall increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe in the coming weeks and months. Countries are encouraged to remain vigilant for BA.4 and BA.5 emergence. “Early variant detection critically relies on representative testing and genomic surveillance, with timely sequence reporting”.

Kristian Andersen, immunologist at Scripps Research, recently warned that new variants will “continue to be more capable of immune escape,” possibly leading to lower protection against not just infection, but also against severe disease. He said, “Simply letting the virus continue to infect us, likely several times a year—just isn’t an option in my playbook.”

With our Chief Medical Officer’s integrity compromised, who is responsible for updating public health measures in response to the incoming threat of new, vaccine escaping variants of concern? Who will alert the public to the recent large US study concluding that Omicron is just as severe as previous variants? Only 23% of 5-11 years olds are vaccinated. Where’s the parental engagement? At what point will scientifically proven non pharmaceutical public health protections, such as distancing and masking in schools and indoor public indoor spaces be reinstated to suppress transmission? When will ventilation legislation be implemented? The evidence suggests that a perfect storm is heading our way. With testing and surveillance systems dismantled, we’re flying blind without parachutes".

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Brexit was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated in British politics

This went viral when I wrote it. Depressingly prophetic😢

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-referendum-alternative-facts-brexit-bill-white-paper-european-union-a7558886.html

And this on Northern Ireland👇

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-good-friday-agreement-northern-ireland-troubles-violence-ira-border-a8297406.html

And this....

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2017/12/island-ireland-wants-move-past-if-brexiteers-will-let-it

"The Good Friday Agreement changed everything on the island of Ireland. The removal of blockades heralded peace and economic progress on both sides of the border. Reinstating barriers between communities now would be a divisive, retrograde step and will open wounds that have taken a generation to heal".

"The Tories have entirely misjudged the extent to which that shared European identity underpins the peace process. By riding rough shod over the rigorous impartiality required by the Good Friday Agreement, the UK government is gambling with peace in the province. Although the Good Friday Agreement allows for a unity referendum, until Brexit, there was no appetite for one.

The spectre of violence floats, like a restless ghost, over the island of Ireland. It will take more than vague promises of “regulatory alignment” to put it to rest". 

Visit the Blah page on my website for more Brexit articles. There were many!


Friday, 13 May 2022

Having shot Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the head, Israeli forces kicked and beat her pallbearers with batons. Silence is complicity.

Click on the link for footage of the beating of pallbearers resulting in them dropping Shireen's coffin👇💔

Sound on

 https://twitter.com/RiyaAlsanah/status/1525122100259872768?cxt=HHwWgICzkYieqaoqAAAA

Shame on the US, UK & all the other countries that failed to condemn the killing of a Palestinian journalist shot, according to eye witnesses) by Israeli for doing her job - and being Palestinian.

Suaimhneas síoraí Shireen




Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Going cuckoo!

Listen carefully & you'll hear the cuckoo call across the Burren💓



Other things that made me smile recently👇

Foraged flowers from the garden

And, the flowers in the back garden






Thursday, 5 May 2022

It's not over

Arguably the most dangerous phase of the pandemic: Mass infection delusional denial 🙈🙉🙊 



Meanwhile, in the real world👇

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Scrapping mask mandate & misinformation is dangerous. If you're anxious right now, that's a normal reaction to an abnormal situation

My article in yesterday's Indo👇

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/blanket-removal-of-mask-rule-wasnt-just-foolhardy-it-was-dangerous-41535535.html

Extracts👇

Are you experiencing increased anxiety since Micheál Martin jettisoned public health protections? Do you feel frightened on public transport when an unmasked passenger coughs into your cheezy wotsits? Do you get side-eyed for wearing a mask and wonder, “Am I losing my mind”?

Anxiety and fear are normal reactions to dangerous situations. Clinically, anxiety is disordered if there’s no evidence to support perceived threat. Let’s examine the evidence.

Paediatrician Dr Liqa Ur Rehman, is also concerned about misinformation and tweeted some of  his “mild” Covid cases last week: 8 week old with severe croup. 6 month old with respiratory and cardiac arrest requiring CPR, 2 year old with fever and prolonged convulsions, 10 year old unable to walk. He asks why masks haven’t been reinstated in Ireland to help reduce transmission, viral load and severe symptoms in children?

The INMO and IAEM unions have written to Dr Tony Holohan asking for the mask mandate to be reinstated warning “As of March 27, 89,432 of the pandemic’s total 1,442,877 cases occurred within the past two weeks, meaning 6.2% of Covid infections occurred in approximately 1-2% of the pandemic’s timeframe.” 

 

“Hospitals are currently not safe for patients or for staff because of the level of overcrowding and Covid infection levels” they warned. "The public need to be made aware of why we need them to once again step up to the plate in order to protect those working on our frontlines.”

 

A code red alert that hospitals are unsafe for staff and patients has been ignored. Removing the mask mandate exacerbated the crisis yet pleas for reinstating it to help slow transmission  was denied. Sinn Féin picked the wrong side.

22 healthcare workers died from Covid in Ireland. Some 6,000 are off sick with Covid and long-Covid. They risk their lives to save ours. How far we’ve fallen that our hearts have hardened to their sacrifice. When Paul Reid celebrated “Freedom day” by going for a pint, Dr Liqa Ur Rehman should have been getting his booster, instead he was covering for sick colleagues.

 

We are experiencing a collective trauma, the impact of which is hitting those at higher risk from Covid hardest. If you’re anxious right now, that’s a normal response to an abnormal situation. Ignore the side eyes and keep wearing your mask. They protect lives and livelihoods.