NEAR the recycling bank in the car park of Tesco Gorey, a grey van has sat patiently at various times for three days. Its occupants are waiting to collect donations of paper, envelopes, laptops and printers. They need these items as part of a campaign which will target TDs in a bid to “collapse the government” over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many of the followers of this group are Covid deniers and staunchly anti-vax and posts on social media suggest that they have selected Co Wexford as a base for their operations in the Republic, with another “venue secured” in Belfast aimed at targeting MPs.
The group aims to send “lawful liability notices” for all 166 TDs and 650 MPs and “collapse the government immediately” over its handling of the pandemic.
However the social media posts take a more sinister twist. After a point they question “who wants this bad enough?”
The poster says: “A great team of people from all over this country has been working very hard to get this done. These are anonymous to protect their identity and from infiltration, arrest or death. We have the bullets. We are now calling on our people. We don’t need GoFundMes or donations, we do this because we love you all more than you will ever know.
“These anons (anonymous people) have never been public and no one knows who they are, not even I. They have entrusted people all over this country with this task and no one can stop them. This is a very exciting time and I’m honoured to be part of it. Where will you be?”
Later in the comments section of the post, the group reveals that they have secured venues in Wexford and Belfast from which to run the “operation” and the start date will be Sunday, November 28, taking two or three days to get all the “liability notices” done up, printed out and sent.
They then appeal for donations of stationary, laptops and printers for the task and state that they will be collecting from Tesco Gorey on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The main players involved, some of whom are local to Wexford, regularly share anti-vax posts on social media, as well as promoting videos shared by notorious Covid denier Dolores Cahill, which come with a “false information” warning on Facebook, having been checked by independent fact checkers.
It emerged last week that Dolores Cahill had sent notices of “liability for harm and death” to the offices of the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, Justice Minister Helen McEntee, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and President Michael D Higgins earlier this year. The notices objected to any part each individual had played in endorsing the Covid-19 vaccination or the government restrictions.
Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne believes that this type of campaign has no legal basis.
“This is fake law,” he blasted. “We saw this during the economic downturn. People began to refer to themselves as ‘Freemen of Ireland’ and didn’t recognise the government or the courts. This seems to be in a similar vein.
“The people at the top of this type of thing are often exploiting people in desperate situations, but it’s make believe.”
When read some of the more sinister elements of the social media posts, Minister Browne says that he is concerned generally at some of the rhetoric around political figures at the moment.
“It’s really increased in coarseness, in terms of the abuse, during Covid,” he said. “We’ve seen where it can lead. We’ve seen two British MPs murdered in recent times. Here we’ve had TDs houses targeted and the purpose is purely to intimidate and drive extremism in politics, driving out that centre ground. It’s infiltrated our elected politicians too. We’ve seen more personal attacks. It’s worrisome for democracy and it needs to be called out. We can’t have a situation where sensible and rational people are afraid to go into politics because of the levels of abuse they’ll suffer.”
While this group has apparently chosen Co Wexford as a base, recent data published by the HPSC shows that the Model County has among the highest uptakes on the Covid-19 vaccine in Ireland with an estimated percentage between 94.7 and 97.3% fully vaccinated.
“I think a lot of these anti-vax groups are peddling fake science,” Minister Browne said. “They are discouraging people from taking necessary vaccines. We’ve already seen that farce in Donegal where a man was taken out of hospital with Covid and later died.
“I can’t get my head around it. The vaccines have now been given to hundreds of millions of people worldwide and yet these people are still saying that there’s no clinical trial. And yet, some of the same people are willing to put horse-grade medicine (Ivermectine) into their bodies.”
While Minister Browne was shocked by the content of some of the posts, he stressed that these groups are in the distinct minority and vaccination rates in Wexford and nationwide reflect that.
Despite this, he and all his fellow TDs in Dáil Éireann can seemingly expect a letter in the post from this group in the coming weeks.