Motion re Extension of Sunset Clause for Parts 3 & 5 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 (Department of Health)

UPDATE: The motion was passed despite opposition. See responses below. We believe it is important to keep emailing. Make sure they understand this is serious. The ICCL had to lobby to get a sunset clause added to the first version of this Act. There is no provision that prevents another (or indefinite) extension.

The Dáil is meeting on October 22nd 2020 to pass a motion on the extension of the above mentioned emergency measures until June 9th 2021. They are also voting for more power to enforce these measures through fines and with the help of Garda Síochána.

Many of us are concerned about the proposed extension of extraordinary powers given to the State during the Covid-19 pandemic under the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 and would like to message our TDs about these concerns. 

Remember social platforms with public visibility are a great tool for communication and discussion but can also be used counter constructively. 

If you choose to message your TD you are doing so of your own accord, nobody should be able to ask you to say or do anything you don’t want to say or do yourself. 

The following are some points to keep in mind when engaging. 

  • Always stay polite, cordial and respectful even if you think the person(s) you’re writing to may have wronged you in some way. 
  • If you’re upset about something, don’t let it come through in what you’re writing, consider taking a break, perhaps going for a walk or doing some physical activity before coming back to it with a calm clear head. 
  • Only state established facts, ensure you’ve done your own research and are sure about what you are saying.
  • Don’t risk getting yourself into trouble in any way, whether that may be with the law or your loved ones who might not share the same viewpoints.

We have shared the following with all members of the government and would encourage you to send your own email, letter or even tweet. If they hear from a sufficient number of people they may consider our requests.

Below are some ideas of things that you could highlight as concerns but again, please ensure that you’ve done your own research and are sure you know what you’re talking about. 

Also please only use them as a template, it would be much better to personalise the message rather than sending a copy paste of an example given here. 

Dear TD, 

I am emailing you to express my concerns regarding the 90 minute debate of the sunset clauses relating to the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020, scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday 21st of October. 

(personalise the above introduction as well as one of the example messages below or something else you wish to say)

  • I am concerned that only 90 minutes of debate is planned regarding extension of the sunset clauses in Part 3 and Part 5 of the Act.  These extensions will have extremely far-reaching consequences for the lives of the people of Ireland.  Such a short time allotment indicates that there will be no substantive Oireachtas consideration. Serious legislative discussion and scrutiny of proposed extension of powers is imperative to maintain the democratic process and safeguard fundamental personal freedom and the basic rights of citizens.
  • I am alarmed at the immense powers over the individual this emergency legislation grants the government, Minister for Health, and the Gardaí.
  • I’m worried that the act allows for  someone to potentially be indefinitely held in isolation camps without recourse to an external re-evaluation for the need to be detained solely based on a suspected infection. 
  • It seems that the Gardaí have been given power to break down doors and detain people, issuing large fines and ordering up to 6 months in jail for disagreeing with the official Covid-19 headlines or purely on suspicion of an infection. To me, this amounts to a serious violation of personal freedoms and human rights.
  • Covid-19, as tragic as it is for those affected in the worst way possible, largely affects people with underlying health conditions and those past the average life expectancy in Ireland. There is growing concern among medical experts worldwide that the measures the Irish Government have put in place in this Act are adversely affecting the health, livelihood and overall happiness of people living in Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has also raised serious concerns from a human rights perspective.
  • A lot of the counter measures and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic are based on the results of PCR testing. There is a growing international body of medical experts saying that this test can return false positives. Massive sacrifices have already been made on the part of the Irish people to help control the spread of Covid-19. It would be fitting to introduce a second type of test or verification of the results of the PCR test if these are to continue to be used as a basis for decision-making.

Many aspects of the Act are a violation of basic personal freedoms and citizens rights. I would therefore urge you to vigorously demand substantive Oireachtas debate and to ultimately vote against extending the Act beyond its 9 November 2020 expiry date.

Contact details below

Excerpts from the debate

You can read or watch the full discussion here.

Responses received

Most people we spoke to did not receive a response from the government representatives they reached out to. Here are the few responses that were forwarded to us

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