Councillors show naked ambition in battle to end flouridation

Two West Cork town councillors have almost bared all in the campaign to have fluoride stripped from the country’s public water supplies

Clonakilty town councillor Anne Cullinane (FF) and Skibbereen town councillor Karen Oakley, (FG) both in their 40s, and anti-fluoridation campaigner Denise Brassil from Tralee, will feature in a naked calendar to raise money for expert witnesses in a forthcoming High Court challenge to the State’s 50-year-old policy of obligatory fluoridation.

Ireland is the only country in Europe that continues to fluoridate public water supplies. In their court challenge, campaigners will draw on a growing body of scientific research which links fluoride to thyroid dysfunction, asthma, autism, and neurological disorders to ban the addition of flourosilic acid to public water.

However, the Government’s expert body on fluoride and the Irish Dental Association maintain the level of fluoride in our water is safe and helps prevent tooth decay.

Skibbereen and Clonakilty town councils recently voted to suspend fluoridation of public water supplies over safety concerns but, under current legislation, local authorities do not have this power.

In July, Clonakilty town council wrote to government departments requesting that each local authority be allowed to decide whether or not it would continue the practice of fluoridation.

The request was refused by Health Minister James Reilly.

In 2000, Dublin City Council and Donegal and Sligo County Councils made similar motions, which were over-ruled by the Department of Health. Earlier this week, the Government announced it will set up a working body to review the practice of fluoridation.

However, Ms Cullinane remains sceptical about the working body. “This is just another excuse to drag out the whole practice,” she said.

A review report of fluoridation in 2007 by Green Party leader John Gormley, which recommended the immediate cessation of fluoridation, was not adopted or published by Oireachtas Committee that commissioned it.

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