Kathy Sheridan: Wallace and Daly are a national embarrassment

Support for anti-vaccine MEP Cristian Terhes is the latest odd turn in their opaque politics

Mick Wallace and Clare Daly. Photograph: Tom Honan

Mick Wallace and Clare Daly. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

In the terrifying, vaccine-less months of 2020, Mick Wallace used his European Parliament platform to make points about the failure of the Irish State to adequately protect people in residential care, to criticise the European Medicines Agency’s tardiness in approving vaccines and to say that public health was too important to be left in the hands of the private sector.

This year he used it to accuse Pfizer of behaving like an autocratic dictator and to urge expansion of vaccine production worldwide. A few weeks ago he tweeted about an EU report noting the lack of access to affordable Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries, and commented that surely all EU member states had decided against such access, “protecting Big Pharma profits instead…?”

His concerns are entirely valid. They are the same concerns that have been shared, aired and debated by millions across Ireland and the world for two years. A half-awake assistant (Wallace and Clare Daly have 10 between them) with a quick glance at a newspaper could set a politician up with enough simple attack points for a month. Still it’s good to see them recited by the ultra-Covid-conscious Ireland South representative in Brussels.

Mick Wallace and Dublin MEP Clare Daly have become best known in Strasbourg for their lock-step pursuit of fair hearings for deeply misunderstood underdogs such as China, Syria, Venezuela and Russia, among others, with both of them directing fellow parliamentarians to “cop on” in separate debates about Russia this year.

But the pair found time a few weeks ago to stride bravely past frontline workers in the European Parliament refusing to show digital vaccine certificates or proof of a test.

Parliamentary pal

Beforehand, their buddy Cristian Terhes, a fellow MEP, stood outside alone in front of his strategist/cameraman, speaking in a tone that suggested a self-immolation might be in the offing.

It was the 44-year-old Romanian’s third day of standing up to The Man. He demands nothing less than entry to parliament without showing his QR code or evidence of vaccination or test.

He has no QR code because he is not vaccinated. The European Parliament’s sole member of the Christian Democratic National Peasants’ Party fears the “experimental drugs”, and this fear must be harnessed in a way that signals fearlessness and freedom-fighting mettle – that “the mandate of an MEP cannot be interfered with in any way, shape or form”.

Never mind that the Romanian people he purports to serve are struggling with a Covid-19 death rate 17 times that of Ireland’s in the past fortnight.

The big news on day three is that he has garnered support. “Along with me,” he reveals, “will be two other MEPs from Ireland. So what I can tell you guys is that people from Ireland are properly represented here now and we will exercise our right”.

As he strides towards the revolving door, enter Clare and Mick, looking neither right nor left, shuffle closely in behind their proudly unvaccinated mate to meet their mighty destiny.

They sail on. Within seconds, unlucky workers are hosing down and disinfecting the entrance. Somewhere out of shot, Ireland is also represented by former Farage-whisperer and leader of the pro-Irexit Irish Freedom Party Hermann Kelly. He is listed as one of three “accredited assistants” to Terhes (plus a local assistant and no fewer than five “service providers”), on an EU salary of at least €3,000 a month.

Who Mick Wallace and Clare Daly choose to associate with is a consideration for Ireland South and Dublin voters

That sort of retinue is bound to give one notions. The idea that Terhes might step out to dine and be obliged to show his (non-existent) digital vaccine cert to “to a person who does not have any medical background, to a person who is a waitress … so they transform the whole society upside-down” appals him. Such majesty surely warrants medically qualified personnel to scrutinise his non-existent cert whenever he graces a restaurant.

No transparency

Wallace or Daly presumably have personal and professional views on vaccines, but despite their constant insistence on transparency, they refused to comment for Naomi O’Leary’s piece in this paper on the Terhes association and his circle of characters.

They must know something of their buddy who compares the imposition of vaccine mandates to Chinese human rights abuses, where “prisoners’ body parts and organs are taken away from them” (which in view of the pair’s relentless whataboutery regarding human rights abuses in China must strike them as alarming).

Who Mick Wallace and Clare Daly choose to associate with is a consideration for Ireland South and Dublin voters. Far from being the brave mavericks in some murderous authoritarian regime, they are a national embarrassment.

Wallace’s greatest hits range from the suggestion that Belarusian pro-democracy leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya might be a “pawn of western neoliberalism” to the sly implication that the Syrian White Helmets staged a murderous attack on their own people; from the remarkable arrogance of his statement - following yet another electoral observation trip – that “the majority of the people of Nicaragua were happy” to his amplification of a tweet this week from a poster who has asserted that “the US claim that China is committing a ‘genocide’ against Uyghurs in Xinjiang is a lie on the scale of the claim that ‘Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction’”.

And as their pal Cristian Terhes has so ably proven, they can do and say as they please, in our name.

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