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Clare TD brands HSE Orwellian after misinformation revelation

Clare TD Michael McNamara has branded the HSE Orwellian after Gript revealed that the HSE’s misinformation programme, under which the HSE complained to social media platforms about material it deems to constitute “harmful misinformation,” has been reporting substantial amounts of material which did not contain misinformation.

Gript found instances of the HSE reporting, as harmful misinformation, videos of politicians, in Ireland and the UK, speaking in parliament; leaflets advertising anti-lockdown protests; an article in the British Medical Journal on the limitations of clinical trials; and posts which consisted entirely of political comments about lockdowns. Perhaps most worryingly we also found several instances in which the HSE flagged articles, from mainstream publications such as the New York Times, Reuters, and Politico, as misinformation because those articles reported on the early warning signs that the AstraZeneca and J&J vaccines could be linked to blood clots.

One of the posts targeted by the HSE was a tweet asking if McNamara would ask a Parliamentary Question (PQ) on the potential side-effects of Covid-19 vaccines.

McNamara told Gript that “the best way for the HSE to combat misinformation” was for the HSE to provide “data in a transparent and unbiased way.” Unfortunately, the TD said, that approach was impossible as “the culture of evading legitimate questions and skewing information to suit an agreed narrative seems too deeply ingrained to even consider that approach.”

On the matter of PQs the TD said he had raised questions about a potential “rise in incidence of myocarditis and aneurysms following vaccinations” after he received claims that there had been a rise in the number of such incidences in 2021. McNamara hastened to add that he was not endorsing those claims “tacitly or otherwise,” but that he had thought that the HSE would welcome an opportunity to publicly “dispel such claims and the resultant fears.”

Instead of the HSE taking that that opportunity McNamara says he was “treated to the usual evasion and given the figures for previous years with no mention at all of 2021.” The TD said the HSE has yet to make the requested figures available to him.

McNamara told Gript that the HSE “would be better off transparently providing the data, all of the data” rather than “wasting money on its new-found role as a ministry of truth.”

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