Vaccinations and children’s allowance
Sir, – Dr Ruairi Hanley persistently proposes in your newspaper that children’s allowance should not be paid in full to children who fail to present for vaccinations (“Doctors should fight irrational movement against vaccination”, Opinion & Analysis, June 13th). This policy has been adopted in very few countries (Dr Hanley can cite only one) and there are very good reasons for this.
It is impossible to see how such a “policy” could lawfully be implemented in Ireland. Parental authority over the medical care that children receive is deeply rooted in our constitutional order. Informed consent to medical treatment is very difficult to achieve if it is hedged about by financial sanctions, penalties or duress. There is something mean and almost totalitarian about the idea of taking money from children in the furtherance of a government policy, however worthy that policy might be. On top of all that, the policy would amount to electoral suicide. Its easy to understand why Dr Hanley is not a politician. – Yours, etc,