Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday's vigils - a thank you post

I'M GOING to cross post something I wrote (with some minor tweaking) after this week's vigils in the Facebook campaign group .


The vigils during the week were great. Like any other event like this, when I went to set up at the Dáil I was nervous and anxious thinking 'please let people show up' and you did :)

Both Cork and Dublin's events had about 60 people attending and considering the evening that was in it, a wet, cold, very cold evening, that was great.

According to Sorcha Daly (who organised the Cork event) the speakers were great and Ger Murphy who lost her daughter Evelyn last year to the disease was particularly powerful.

In Dublin we had deputies Jan O'Sullivan and James Reilly who spoke, unfortunately Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin was unable to make it out in time as he was due to speak on the Health Bill in the Dail and couldn't leave the House. He did make it out at the end having run out trying to catch the end of the vigil. We had many other TDs out at the vigil and I would be afraid to name them in case I would miss out on some, but their presence was fantastic.

What was also brilliant in Dublin was that some of the attendees came because they received an email about the event and one couple came because they heard about it from a friend via text. So well done that was brilliant. We are getting our message out using all sorts of methods.

I think that an important aspect to the group where people can participate on a level that suits them whether thats by attending demonstrations or by emailing or contacting family and friends on the issue. Everything has its place and all of it counts.

The vigils got fantastic news coverage; Newstalk, Cork's 96fm, the Sun, the Examiner, the Mirror, the Star and a brilliant spread in the Daily Mail (who have been running a campaign also calling for the vaccine) including the front page which featured Evelyn Cotter who died from cervical cancer last year.

Daily Mail cover

Daily Mail inside

Examiner Dec 11

The Sun - Dec 12th

The Star - December 11

We do understand that not everyone can make it to events like this which makes the online campaigning side of this issue very important so your emails to your Government TDs are vital, we need to consistently let them know that we are not happy with this decision and we want it reversed.

I also want to thank Sorcha Daly for taking the lead and organising a dual event in Cork, that was fantastic. And fair play to her for all the work. It is hard doing these things by yourself, with a budget of nothing. So for the group to pull off two great events was fantastic. Well done and thanks.

We will be doing more. I am going to draft a couple of standard letters to the editor which people can adapt and send to their local papers about the issue and after Christmas we'll work on another action.

I have found the nonsense moral undertones surfacing around this hilarious to say the least. One person who has bombarded the Facebook group with nonsense comments as well as my Flickr account even went so far as to phone my work to complain about me. The person she got through to put her onto me (thanks) and she gave out yards about god knows what before saying 'I bet you have shares in the vaccine company' to which I replied 'yes thats right'.

Whatever about not agreeing with the campaign and whatever about not agreeing with vaccines, people are free to believe what they want. But as it stands no one has a choice about this campaign and if the vaccine was implemented they would have a choice NOT to have their daughters vaccinated and we would have the cjhoice to have it. Being insulting, rude and aggressive to a stranger because you don't agree with them will get you nowhere and certainly will gain no respect from me.

You can see pics from the event on Dec's Flickr photostream, it was odd to be at a demo and not taking pics, I don't think people would have been impressed with me interrupting introductions of speakers to say 'hang on till I get a pic :) I was delighted to briefly meet Neil Dorgan and I look forward to his shots as well.

So thats it for now but more things are planned, so if you haven't joined the Facebook group yet, please do, we are nearly 11,000 members strong.