Dublin, Ireland — Protesters, parents, and teachers, outraged by recent COVID-19 mask mandates, crowded Merrion Square near the Leinster House. The protest, organized by Enough is Enough took place December 3, 2021, at noon. Additional supporters of the event included Corruption Awareness Ireland and the Campaign for Truth and Proper Healthcare.
According to their press release, “Enough Is Enough” is a recently formed civil rights group that stands for medical freedom and proportionate, evidence-based responses to COVID-19 measures.
The protest formed as concerns escalated from parents and teachers around the new COVID-19 mask mandates and restrictions for children in primary schools.
Rachel Ní Faolain, an Enough is Enough spokesperson, stated this in a press release:
“We had contact overnight from countless anxious parents across Ireland, expressing their deep concern for the erosion of both their children’s constitutionally enshrined educational rights and their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan, in accordance with the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), agreed on the new mandates that went into effect on December 1, 2021.
The NPHET press release reads:
“Masks should be worn by children: Aged 9 years and over on public transport, in retail and other indoor public settings as currently required for those aged 13 and over, with exemptions as appropriate; and in third class and above in primary school.”
NPHET’s latest Covid-19 statistics on their government website shows that on December 3, 2021, there are 5,419 additional cases confirmed, 528 patients are in a hospital, and 110 of those patients are in intensive care (ICU). Ireland reported its first case of the Omnicron variant of COVID-19 on December 2, 2021.
These statistics did not deter parents, teachers, and supporters from attending the event. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter had several shares of the event poster with the details of the protest.
Corruption Awareness Ireland streamed the protest live on Facebook. The video showed a packed street of unmasked parents and their children holding up posters in opposition to the latest mask requirements for children.
Enough Is Enough spokesperson Rachel Ní Faolain, a mother of two, stated in a press release, “The mask mandate for primary school children, which came about in an ad hoc way that has sown confusion and discord among parents and educators, is fundamentally wrong.”
Several speakers took the stage including the The Irish Education Alliance (IEA). IEA includes teachers, special needs assistants, and administrative and technical staff in Irish schools from preschool to the third level.
Linda Kennedy, a parent and primary school teacher, appeared on stage speaking out against children wearing masks. “Children should never be used for the benefit of others. Masking children is not about health. It is about control and gaining compliance.”
Ally McCrory, a parent of four attending the event, said, “…HIQA, who is in charge of safety assessments in schools and care homes, have refused to implement this three times—stating the risk of masks is more than potential benefits. But our chief medical officer has overruled their decision.”
According to their website, the Health and Information Quality Authority (HIQA) helps to “inform national efforts in response to COVID-19” and “develops evidence summaries and syntheses to answer specific policy questions and topics posed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).”
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement of HIQA, commented on this. “HIQA’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group last considered lowering the age for the use of face coverings in August 2021, and HIQA subsequently provided advice to (National Public Health Emergency Team) NPHET. HIQA has not been requested to consider this topic since.”
He went on to say, “Our most recent review in August 2021 recommended that the minimum age for mask-wearing should remain unchanged; however, ongoing monitoring was advised with respect to the epidemiological situation in children.”
Dr. Vincent Carroll, a medical doctor, and graduate of the University College Dublin, also spoke at the protest. Dr. Carroll holds a Diploma in Child Health and a Master’s Degree in Public Health Medicine. He passionately stated his disapproval of the mask mandate and rallied the crowd on the psychological effect masks will have on children.
In an interview with Stephen McKernan, the Headmaster at Castle Park School in Dublin, he had similar remarks. “Young children’s social and emotional development is of critical importance at the age of nine. To mandate (overnight) this measure without any consultation or consideration of the impact on children is cold and out of touch.”
Enough is Enough promoted their petitions at the end of the event against Irish government officials Norma Foley, the Minister for Education; Stephen Donnelly, the Minister of Health; and Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the Prime Minister. The petitions are on Change.org and the Campaign For Truth and Proper Healthcare’s website.