Covid-19: Cork anti-lockdown rally rails against ‘enslavement’

Demonstration told that vaccine passports a step towards ‘apartheid and a two-tier society’

Introducing vaccine passports and allowing only people who have been vaccinated to interact socially will create a form of apartheid in Irish society that must be rejected, a rally against the coronavirus lockdown has heard on Saturday.

Organiser Diarmaid Ó Cadhla told the crowd in Cork city centre this afternoon that the decision by members of the European Parliament to accelerate digital green certificates for vaccinated people was a worrying development.

“If we accept these vaccines passports, we may as well say goodbye to any notion of bodily integrity or medical privacy or any semblance of genuine informed consent regarding our medical care. We’ve already started down the road of denying services and other interactions based on health status.

“This is creating a new apartheid and a two-tier society. It will create a new enslavement never before seen in modern society and we must say no! to it,” Mr Ó Cadhla told the rally. The assembly was billed as A Parade for Truth and urged an end to the lockdown.


Mr Ó Cadhla, also accused the Government of inconsistency in excluding French, German and Italian visitors from having to quarantine here while preventing Irish people to travel internally. Mr Ó Cadhla was co-opted on to Cork County Council in 2017 but failed twice to get elected to Cork City Council.

"They said they could not interfere with the travel rights of citizens from these countries because of the European Union, but are we not EU citizens as well? Why is our liberty curtailed and not that of some German who might happen to come to visit our country? Why are we restricted?"

Police presence

The rally – which gardaí estimated attracted a crowd of some 250 and which The Irish Times counted at about 240 – attracted a notably smaller attendance than a previous one which Mr Ó’Cadhla organised on March 6th. Up to 700 turned out for that one.

Today's gathering was also notable for a considerable police presence. About 50 uniformed and plain-clothes officers monitored the protest which passed off peacefully. But as with the rally on March 6th, the majority of participants did not wear masks and social distancing was negligible as most of those attending gathered in clusters to hear Peter O'Donoghue from Fermoy and Irish Freedom Party member Aaron Joyce from Dungarvan speak.

Gardaí confirmed that no one was arrested but they were obliged to speak to about 12 organisers. These included speakers, musicians, flag carriers and they will be the subject of a file sent to the DPP over possible breaches of coronavirus regulations.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times