As a mother, a senator, a businesswoman, and a citizen, I'm concerned about the quality of our drinking water. In particular the addition of fluoride acid, which is being forced on all of us, whether we want it or not. Now we are being forced to pay for this medicated water.
Did you know there's enough fluoride in a tube of toothpaste to kill a 12-year-old child? No? Neither did I, until recently. I know what you're thinking: "If that was true, there would be a poison warning on the tube."
Well, in America there is. All fluoride toothpastes in the US carry a poison warning, by federal law. It states, "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing (a pea-sized amount), you should contact a poison control centre immediately."
Bizarrely, a Department of Health Forum decided not to introduce the same poison warnings here.
The amount of fluoride in the pea-sized quantity - which requires a poison warning in the US - is the same amount of fluoride found in one glass of Irish tap water, which carries no warning.
Today, I am bringing a motion to the Senate that states: "For the fundamental human right of every Irish citizen to choose whether or not they have their water medicated with fluoride, given that they are from today, October 1, paying for it."
I am not willing to continue to risk my family's health for one more day to expose them to fluoridated water. I believe every single one of us consumers has the right to non-fluoridated water.
I'm not alone in rejecting water fluoridation. Some of the most advanced countries in the world in healthcare terms have rejected the practice. It is banned in Sweden and The Netherlands. These countries have chosen not to override the human rights of the majority, for the supposed benefit to a few.
In Northern Ireland, 25 out of 26 councils decided against force feeding this chemical to people via its water supply.
This practice amounts to drugging by thirst. The thirstier you are, the more fluoride you receive. Using the water supply to administer drugs to a population is therefore both crude and archaic. And it presents serious problems, especially for our most vulnerable citizens.
Babies drink three to four times more liquids than adults, relative to their size. So they'll get three to four times fluoride's toxic effects. And as they can't excrete fluoride, 90pc of it stays in their body.
We have one of the lowest breast feeding rates in Europe, so this is a major public health concern for Ireland. A higher percentage of babies here will be fed infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water, than in most other countries.
The problem of fluoridation doesn't end there. After 50 years of fluoridation, no proper environmental impact studies have ever been done to understand the effects of this mass pollution. Likewise, there have been no health studies done, as prescribed in the 1960s Health Act - the legislation which brought water fluoridation into being.
In March 2006, the US National Academy of Sciences completed the most comprehensive, balanced scientific review ever on the health effects of fluoride in water. Its 500-page report, representing three years' work by a panel of 12 scientists, acknowledged the following adverse effects - not previously identified - from low levels of fluoride ingestion: thyroid impairment, impaired glucose tolerance (type 2 diabetes), moderate dental fluorosis, bone fractures, moderate skeletal fluorosis (arthritis), lowering of IQ and brain damage - the last is also due to the presence of aluminium.
Shockingly, all of these adverse effects, with possibly the exception of bone fractures and lower IQ, can occur at 1 mg/L - the level used for water fluoridation.
I don't know if these 12 scientists are correct on all their findings. But what I do know is that we shouldn't be taking a risk with the whole population.
What tests have the authorities carried out here in Ireland to measure the level of skeletal fluorosis in our citizens?
We should be at the very least looking at rates to measure what potential damage continued consumption of fluoride could be doing to our health.
My job as a senator is to protect the people, not to protect a failed government policy.
It is inarguably a breach of human rights to drug a population against their will, via the water system.
My motion in the Senate is to give back the human right to choose what drug each Irish citizen does or does not take into their body.
I urge everyone to put pressure on their TDs, councillors and anyone else in a position of power to join the fight for Ireland's health freedom.
Mary Ann O'Brien is an Independent Senator