GoFundMe bans anti-vaxxers as being 'risk to public health' through 'misinformation'
The country's biggest crowdfunding service says it will no longer allow anti-vaccination campaigns.
GoFundMe, used by 500,000 Irish people, says anti-vaccination information represents a public health risk.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, the chief executive of GoFundMe said the decision had been made to prevent "misinformation".
"The anti-vaccine movement has been around for a long time," said Rob Solomon. "But there's a lot of misinformation being spread on it and it is a huge public health risk. It's got to the point now where the [US] Surgeon General and many others are talking about the misinformation that's being spread. So we will evolve our terms of service and change things, based on the realities of what's happening. This is an example of us following what's happening with regulators and legislation."
Recent years have seen a number of local campaigns by some parents' groups in Ireland on the issue of vaccinating young children against conditions ranging from measles to cervical cancer.
Claims by so-called 'anti-vaxxers' that vaccinations can be linked to autism have been repeatedly debunked by doctors and medical professionals, who say the claims endanger children's health.
Health Minister Simon Harris said he "instinctively agrees" with proposals to ban unvaccinated children from crèches. Mr Harris tweeted that despite his agreement with the suggestion, there may be constitutional issues.
"Will research further," he tweeted, adding the hashtag #vaccinessavelives.
In Ireland, the uptake of the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer has risen to 70pc, up from 50pc in the last two years.
"Our philosophy is to not be the arbiter of whether a cause is a good cause or a bad cause," said Mr Solomon. "We want the communities of people to ultimately decide. So you'll see different sides of political issues raising funds on GoFundMe and we don't want to take a stance as to whether we're left or right, progressive or conservative. That said, we do have terms of service. You can't raise funds to purchase weapons, for example."
That now also included "misinformation" such as anti-vaccination campaigns, he said.