Drug criminalisation claimed another tragic victim last night 17 May) with the death of 18 year old Ana Hick. From press reports it appears hers was yet another preventable death caused by taking toxic PMMA that is sometimes substituted for MDMA due to prohibition and ruthless gangster capitalism.
On the last day of August 2014, in a ruling the country and the media barely noticed, Mr Justice Ryan in the High Court in Kerry found against Ciara Hamilton and for the HSE in an utterly terrifying moment for every person becoming pregnant or giving birth in Ireland from here on out. Ciara Hamilton had taken a case against the Health Service Executive after the birth of her second child, during which a midwife had, without obtaining consent, broken her waters, leading to an umbilical cord prolapse and an emergency caesarean section.
The breaking of waters during labour, in medical terms, amniotomy or Artificial Rupture of Membranes (ARM), is not recommended best practice precisely because it can lead to a cord prolapse, which is a serious emergency when giving birth as it cuts off the blood flow and air supply to the baby. If the person giving birth is a Strep B carrier, as Ciara Hamilton was, it can also carry an increased risk of Strep B transferring to the newborn and causing serious damage to the baby, as happened to Ciara Hamilton’s child. It is listed as a Do Not Do under NICE recommendations. Despite this, and despite ARM being known to carry dangers and risks to both birthing woman and baby, it is still a widely carried out procedure in many Irish maternity hospitals. In the case of Ciara Hamilton’s birth, it was a procedure carried out by a midwife without seeking consent to do so.
In this society we are told that we have certain rights; the right to vote, the right to protest, the right to bodily autonomy (i.e. the right to decide what happens to our bodies). All of these rights can be taken away in a flash at the whim of those in power. But you cannot take away from a pregnant person that which they don’t have: bodily autonomy.
Abortion is extremely restrictive on this island, with the southern state not acting on the prohibitive legislation that is in place – as was highlighted with Ms. Y in August 2014 – and the northern state only allowing abortion when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life (read: not health).
Radical health reform, in terms of creating equality and accessibility, and stopping the agenda of privatisation and for-profit medicine, is one of the great challenges facing Irish society.
In this pamphlet, anarchists explain the reasons why such change is needed, give examples of important first steps in creating change, and describe the type of struggle that is necessary if we are going to win.
The healthcare system, upon which people in Ireland depend, is an apartheid system. Simply put, some lives are worth more than others. Rare attempts at reform have been stymied by historic, chronic underspending and vested interests. This legacy has forced the vast majority of working people to take out private health insurance and has laid the foundations for a neo-liberal push towards an American-style system of private medicine.
Despite the “economic miracle” called the Celtic Tiger that has led to Ireland having a higher GNP per head of population than much of the rest of the EU, it lags behind in terms of health outcomes. At age 65 we have the lowest life expectancy in the EU for both men and women. Indeed, the gap between Irish and EU life expectancy has been widening. Infant mortality rates are above the EU average. We have above EU mortality rates for cancer and coronary heart disease. Despite Ireland’s incidence of breast cancer being among the lowest in Europe, the death rate in 2001 from breast cancer was the highest in EU15. To cap it all, we have a widening income gap, which analysis suggests will of itself worsen our health experience since greater inequality is associated with higher mortality rates.
Today marks three years since the brutal and needless passing of Savita Halappanavar.
During the rise of HIV and Hepatitis B in the 70s and 80s the UK Government enforced a blanket ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.
In 2011 this ban was changed slightly - the ban would only last a year after a man had sex with another man, meaning that if any queer men wanted to donate blood they would have to abstain from sex with men for a year.
An estimated 15 people travel from the island of Ireland every day in order to access an abortion. Yesterday, an anti-choice clinic opened in Belfast City Centre in the same building as a travel agents, something that shows the pure contempt, malice and disregard that the anti-choice zealots hold towards women and other pregnant people.
September is a terrific month for you to become more involved in the struggle to make access to abortion in Ireland free, safe and legal.
THERE ARE TWO IRELANDS – reality for people like you and me; fantasy for the rich and their political servants.
Frank Feighan lives in fantasy Ireland. He was elected TD for Roscommon/South Leitrim in 2011 on the basis of a pledge not to downgrade Roscommon Hospital. Enda Kenny even made a speech in Roscommon town promising to keep the hospital at its current capacity . Once elected, Feighan and Fine Gael broke their promises in order to support the global financial system and to open up Ireland’s welfare services to retrenchment and privatisation. Roscommon County Hospital was downgraded in 2011, losing its 24-hour accident and emergency service. Local people reacted angrily to this betrayal, occupying the hospital for a number of days, organising local demonstrations in the town and a national demonstration outside the Dáil. Neighbours generally shunned Feighan in his constituency, painting slogans like ‘traitor’ on bales of hay on the roads leading to his home.