“I will not shirk from criticising vaccine pass legislation despite attempts to demonise me.”
Independent Tipperary TD and leader of the Dáil Rural Independent Group Mattie McGrath has strenuously rejected claims that he specifically compared the proposed vaccine pass legislation for hospitality and indoor dining to the Jewish holocaust.
Deputy McGrath went on to say that while he has described the draconian legislation enacted by Dáil Eireann as reminiscent of 1930’s Germany, he categorically did not draw a specific equivalence between the current Irish situation and the systematic murder of the Jewish population.
Suggestions that he was making such a comparison were described by McGrath as “spurious, manipulative and politically-driven attempts to demonise my opposition to the governments vaccine pass proposals.”
“I will not be lectured to by this Taoiseach, any member of his government or indeed any member of this Dáil when they continue to insist that I am engaged in false equivalences on this matter. I have never used the word ‘holocaust’ despite the misleading assertions of the Taoiseach and others,” McGrath insisted.
“Neither have I argued against vaccination. What I have argued against is enforced or coercive vaccination as indeed the EU Parliament has and that is an entirely different matter.
“Yes I have described the governments railroading of draconian, discriminatory and profoundly unethical legislation on this issue as reminiscent of the early Nazi era, however I was using the term as a way to describe a certain kind of political environment where fundamental constitutional and legal principles are eroded and where a system of enforced segregation is imposed on people under a veneer of democratic legitimacy.
“In this sense it should be clear to all that what is happening this week is a travesty of the democratic process. The entire political opposition and anyone with their eyes open at all can see that this is the case.
“It is also clear to me that this new system will be authoritarian and indeed totalitarian in nature. How else should we describe a system that is purposefully designed to be severe, potentially criminalising and all-encompassing?
“The entire might of the state is being pressed into service against those who only want to be able to access basic services without having to be made to forcibly disclose private personal information or to be coerced through social pressure into receiving a vaccine which they have medical or ethical concerns about.
“This is targeted and punitive action, and it is totally unacceptable.
“I accept that this is stark language, but sometimes stark language is necessary to alert people to the scale and depth of the discrimination that this government is attempting to legitimise.
“My fundamental point is this; there are clear and egregious civil liberty violations embedded into the vaccine pass system that is being proposed and I will not shirk from calling that out just because my remarks are being amplified and distorted in a deeply cynical fashion,” concluded Deputy McGrath.
The Auschwitz Memorial account on Twitter had criticised McGrath for allegedly drawing comparisons between the holocaust and Covid-19 restrictions, but the Tipperary TD rejected the claim, telling reporters “he never uttered” the word “holocaust”.