IRELAND: ICCL calls for vaccine pass law to be scrapped

– Statement published by ICCL on 13 July 2021, available here.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) says the new law introducing a vaccine pass system for indoor settings is discriminatory and should be scrapped. We have contacted Ireland’s elected representatives asking them to oppose it.  

Executive Director of ICCL Liam Herrick said: 

“This legislation will write discrimination based on health status into our laws. It will also establish a system of health checks for access to goods and services with no clear objective or definite end date. Not only that, but it is yet another example of a government rushing through far-reaching legislation without allowing our elected representatives to properly debate it.” 

Since the Government introduced emergency powers for the Health Minister to deal with the pandemic, there have been numerous examples of government introducing ill-advised and poorly thought-out legislation. This Bill, which writes discrimination into law, will set a dangerous precedent. It has been developed without any meaningful consideration of equality and data protection concerns and presents a U-turn on previous Government commitments in pursuit of short-term economic gains. 

The public health objectives behind the Bill are unclear. Originally, Government had implied the vaccine passports system would be a stopgap measure until a critical mass of the adult population were vaccinated. But already it is making references to extending this system into other indoor sectors, and potentially retaining the system as long as children remain unvaccinated. 

The system is also likely to be unworkable. Are publicans and restauranteurs really going to ask customers and friends for private health data in order to refuse entry? Forgeries will be likely. Where an unworkable and unenforceable piece of legislation is introduced, it makes a mockery of our legal system.  

The Government regularly cites its commitment to the principles of solidarity felt at the beginning of the pandemic. This proposal fundamentally damages that sense of solidarity. We went into this pandemic together, and we should come out of it together.  


Read our letter to Minister Stephen Donnelly:

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is Ireland’s oldest independent human rights campaigning organisation. We monitor, educate and campaign to secure human rights for everyone in Ireland. 

For comment: Liam Herrick 

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