Ciarán McCollum. | Humphrey Carter

Ciarán McCollum BL first came to Mallorca when he was just a year old and has been visiting the island ever since. He is now based in Mallorca and is deeply concerned about the impact that the Covid restrictions, especially now that Covid passports have been introduced, are going to have on local businesses and society at large as the fight against Covid moves forward.

Ciarán studied Law and German in Dublin and Berlin and has since practised law in Germany and France. Since the pandemic hit, he has been actively involved in discussions with MEPs and other politicians about how European governments are handling the health crisis and the legality of certain steps which have been taken, such as the introduction of Covid passports. He and a group of lawyers and MEPs are currently looking into the legal implications of the latest decisions taken by EU governments.

He is also deeply concerned about the lack of questioning of the decisions by society and in particular the media at large, and he would like to see a more open debate taking place about what is happening and how we are being “encouraged” to lead our lives.

Since moving to Mallorca he has become particularly worried about the impact the restrictions have had and will continue to have on local businesses, in particular to small to medium sized enterprises. “In the interests of business, the Balearic government has secured judicial permission to introduce a requirement to show proof of your medical condition before entering certain public places.

“With all the best will in the world for the island’s leaders at this testing time, the idea is foolhardy. Unless your name is Bezos or Zuckerberg, the medical pass will damage if not destroy your business alongside human dignity.

“I am an Irish barrister. My family have holidayed on this lovely island since before I was born. I worked in France and studied in Germany. I know the languages of those two countries, adore their culture and visit regularly. Thus, with some authority, I can speak of the situation in three nations (Ireland, France and Germany) which have already introduced the unfortunate measure known in some jurisdictions as a medical pass.

“As a democrat, I find this document repellent. The idea of separating people based on whether or not they have undergone a supposedly voluntary medical procedure is, to put it mildly, unethical. Sadly, as stated by former UK Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption, at this point in human history ‘the moral dimension (has been) forgotten’.

“Thus any complaint of injustice will be met with the immediate reply that this unpleasantness is necessary to combat the pandemic. This is the contention I wish to address, for this measure is not necessary and, what is more, the suggestion that it can in any way ameliorate the situation is proven nonsense.

“Why not look at the countries where it has already been introduced, such as Ireland, France and Germany: How are they faring? Are the ‘numbers’ under control? No. They are experiencing outbreaks worse than countries and regions, such as parts of Spain and about a dozen American States, making do without medical segregation.

“Ireland’s regime has been in place since July, and yet restrictions on business have been reintroduced within a fortnight of being lifted. Such is the level of paranoia in my homeland now, that one university wishes to enforce the student mask mandate using CCTV.

“The French ‘pass sanitaire’ was introduced at the beginning of June. Despite the gendarmes making quite the show of inspecting the papers of citizens relaxing on cafe terraces, cases are on the rise and, as sure as night follows day, restrictions are being ramped up.

“Meanwhile, Germany, where the new pass requirement is often enforced with perhaps predictable enthusiasm, is returning to lockdown and has promised to get tough on the non-vaccinated. The Federal Republic follows in the footsteps of its neighbours, Austria and the Netherlands, where partial confinement is already in place and the police have shot at protesters.

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“Austria even tried putting the unvaccinated under house arrest before, one week later and tail between the legs, going into full lockdown!

“How could this be? It’s tragically simple. As known to doctors and admitted by British PM Boris Johnson, the vaccine prevents neither infection nor transmission. So, the medical pass brings no greater control and does not prevent lockdown. On the contrary it presages further restrictions and furious discord in society. Fear and panic increase not because of the invisible virus, but because of the glaringly visible paper requirement introduced by well-meaning politicians.

“Moreover, by so seriously disturbing society, the medical pass makes people sick. How can I say that with confidence? Well, we all know the consequences of stress: your health deteriorates. The pass is a guarantee of increased stress every day for the whole population. This is also a direct and indirect consequence of the occasional violence and daily aggression which the Balearic government is inviting to its pleasant shores.

“This would tend to bring one back to the legal argument which has recently become inconvenient. The riots we are seeing are a result of discrimination and frustration.

“Tell a proportion of the population that they are no longer entitled to shop, eat out, drink, socialise and in any way enjoy their lives without undergoing a medical procedure they do not wish for, inject some disruption to business, and you yourself will see red, whichever side you are on. Take one small local cinema in Swansea, now threatened with closure, which has received over 50,000 GBP in public support. Note that I said whichever side you find yourself on: don’t forget that there are two to every divide. The pass-carrying population will also be angry at the naysayers (whether vaccinated or not) for not complying.

“Finally, consider the situation of hospitality. What makes Mallorca an attractive prospect The vista of a wide open bar with a wide open terrace onto a wide open sea. Where in this picture can you see a masked, gloved, nervous waitress accosting a jolly visitor in order to examine his medical papers? It is simply ludicrous. No one in the real world wants to see this, which only serves to further boost the profits of non-real world, i.e. online, concerns. Yes, Amazon, Facebook, Google et al are only happy for the chaos to continue, and for consumers to remain happily plonked on the sofa (if they are indeed happy) and locked to their screens.

“Why invite this level of pointless acrimony into your home? The answer, I suspect, is desperation. Businesses are crying out for help, politicians feel they must answer. Well, answer, but for God’s sake do not make the situation worse. We can learn from Gilbraltar, which is 100% vaccinated and has cancelled Christmas after another outbreak.

“We are two years into this. We must be adults and accept reality. The virus will spread and people will die, as they have always done and always will. Heed Lord Sumption who writes: ‘Those who refuse to be vaccinated may be unwise, perhaps selfish. But if they are not even allowed to decide what medical procedures they will undergo and what drugs they receive into their own bodies, then there is not much left of their autonomy as human beings. The way is wide open to despotism and unending social discord.’

“Rather than sowing discord, the islands’ leaders should devote their efforts to improving people’s health and promoting free commerce. So please: protect the island’s business, protect its population, protect its magic and uphold the rule of democratic law. Do not introduce this measure. Stop attacking the heart of island life, just to be seen to be doing something.

“I am grateful to Toby Young and the team at the Daily Sceptic (https://dailysceptic.org/). Early on, his website was one of the few sources of critical information and I am proud that my writing has appeared there.

“The EU Observer published my criticism of the EU Covid pass on 28 April: https://euobserver.com/opinion/151678

“It was read by MEPs (tweeted for example by veteran Michele Rivasi MEP), republished on several sites (including the Daily Sceptic) and widely translated and shared on social media, e.g. by the American journalist Taylor Hudak (https://twitter.com/_taylorhudak).

“I hope this serves to hopefully make some people stop and think about where we are at and where we are being taken.”