The Big House: Censorship of the Medical Profession in Ireland | Cassandra Voices

The Big House: Censorship of the Medical Profession in Ireland


From my experience of my patients on the front line since March 2020, I estimate that between 1% and 10% of the Irish population have suffered from a serious traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicidal ideation as a direct result of the government instigated media propaganda and lockdown, which works out at between 48 000 and 480 000 people of this country. This must be seen as a national tragedy, if not a massive crime against the Irish people, perhaps the worst since the great famine..’
Dr Gerry Waters submission to the High Court, prior to his suspension from the medical register, April 2021 as quoted in the British Medical Journal.

Looking out upon a ‘snot-green’ sea, I wonder how our ancestors explained the emergence of the craggy rocks and pools. Today we might smile at the idea that the ebb and flow of the tide being the work of ‘spirits’ or gods of sand and stone. Yet perhaps there is a ‘spirit’ of our time? The zeitgeist; a shared belief-system that interprets our world and is the ultimate arbiter of truth itself?  Perhaps it is this ‘spirit’ that future generations might equally recognise as a thing that is drenched in myth and fallacy?

Lately it seems that truth, like the tide, is constantly shifting. Our mute and collective response to Covid-19 policies suggests we have indeed entered a ‘Post-Truth’ era, where truth has gone the way of video and record stores, to become almost entirely subscription based.

I was once of the belief that science served to shape and guide public opinion. I have lately come to feel that when science does not align itself with public opinion, it is dismissed as the ramblings of a madman.

In recent years the most basic scientific principles, even the simple notion of ‘cause and effect’ have been temporarily suspended. Presently, science is in the service of the zeitgeist. It no longer informs public opinion, instead it is used as a drunk might see a lamp post; more for support than illumination.

Newton’s Third Law…

During and prior to Covid, Europe and Ireland, enjoyed several years of what economists call ‘quantitative easing’. In layman’s terms this means printing lots of money in order to keep people content, or at least to keep them spending.

The world is apparently a better place when we are all spending freely. Economists call this ‘economic growth.’ Strangely the cause and effect of this simple expedient is entirely lost on most people. The countless billions that have been pumped into European economies in recent years, now means that money is worth less, which is generally referred to as inflation.

At home, in addition to inflation, our Covid-related crises: deaths in nursing homes, suicides, mental health, missed cancer diagnoses, along with enormous political blunders, were all effectively obscured by a bonfire of some fifty billion euro.

The light of that conflagration was bright enough to relegate our home-grown crises into the shadows of relative obscurity.

The idea that we are experiencing inflation as a consequence of two years of fiscal dissipation is, either roundly ignored or blamed upon other crises.  One does not hear such a strange assertion on RTÉ, which itself received a significant share of that fiscal dissipation for its ‘public service’ broadcasting.

We hear nothing about the government’s responsibility for social destruction and economic waste. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine must have come as a relief. Now the priority is that ‘Putin must go’, an idea seemingly oblivious to the fact that much of the world might have to go down with him.

All in this together?

As Minister for Health for the initial phase of our Covid crisis, Simon Harris stated notoriously: “Remember this is coronavirus Covid-19 – that means there have been 18 other coronaviruses and I don’t think they have actually successfully found a vaccine for any.” Less comically, both he and members of NPHET are still protected from any review into nursing home deaths.

Nor are the main opposition parties, including Sinn Fein, blameless in respect of the temporary madness. I suspect that when they inevitably get hold of the piggy bank they are unlikely to call for any kind of revision to the narrative. We were ‘all in this together’ after all.

Nonetheless, as inflation continues and war escalates, the appetite for truth will surely grow, albeit at a remove from the big glasshouse on Nutley Lane.

When it is safe to speak and ask honest questions, and once the capacity for relating cause and effect returns, calls for a review of the past two years of policy might yet begin in earnest.

Any colour as long as its black..

Some truths seem to persist for longer than others. Scientific truths endure not because they are more precious than myth, but simply because they are (or they remain) largely inescapable.

During the Covid years, scientific truths succumbed to a form of relativism. Thus, one could have any scientific ‘truth’, as long as it was consistent with the fear-frenzy and the dominant narrative that Covid was the only challenge our government ought to address.

In contrast, unpopular truths became the subject of a formal and informal censorship. Science has become strangely ‘right wing’ in its obedience to pharmaceutical companies and its lack of tolerance for essential questions and contrary facts. Yet Karl Popper once argued; ‘the demand for scientific objectivity makes it inevitable that every scientific statement must remain tentative for ever.

In the presence of industry-led censorship, neither science nor democracy functions properly. Yet many people still believe that the scientific discourse is free. Sadly, unscientific views on masks, lockdowns and administering genetic vaccinations to children and pregnant women are (for the moment at least) considered to accord perfectly with the scientific evidence.

Entire national policies were based upon a flawed epidemiology of Covid. That epidemiology was described almost everywhere in the context of ‘deaths per million’, despite Covid being from its inception a disease with a cohort-specific mortality.

Indeed, mortality itself was defined in the context of deaths ‘with’ Covid-19 as opposed to ‘from’ Covid-19. PCR testing remains the gold standard in determining a ‘Covid case’ as opposed to detecting traces of virus in an asymptomatic individual who has recently been exposed to the virus.

In response to Covid-19, foundational principles of science and epidemiology were turned on their heads to satiate a politically profitable narrative. Such contortions are unsustainable in the long term.

The majority desperately feared Covid, and so an aggressive cold virus – dangerous to the elderly and infirm – became a disease almost entirely inflated by a politically inflated fear.

Science was annexed to supply an array of ‘facts’ to substantiate this fear and pursue the enormous wave of Covid ‘research’ funding from a strange marriage between Big Pharma and the State. Fearmongers were given seemingly unlimited time on TV and radio. In contrast, ‘contrarians’ were issued with legal threats and ongoing investigations.

Latter Day Inquisition

It is worth bearing in mind that science has generally co-existed with unscientific ideas. Thus, religion and science have jousted for centuries. However, when governments depend upon science to justify draconian laws and unprecedented spending; to question ‘the science’ becomes a direct challenge to the government itself.

When governments depended on the Church for legitimacy, for anyone to question its religious tenets was a dangerous heresy, rooted out by Inquisition if necessary.

In respect of the medical profession the government has a powerful tool to silence doctors, which is the Irish Medical Council (IMC). The Medical Regulator acts as ‘Grand Inquisitor’, answerable only to the Minister for Health.

During the Covid crisis, anyone in my profession who openly criticised the Science associated with policy, was immediately condemned as a ‘conspiracy theorist’.

These ‘misinformed medics’ represented, (and in most cases still represent) a ‘clear and present danger’ to public health. They were heretics were to be rooted out; removed from society like a cancerous prostate gland.

The danger we pose is not towards public health, but rather towards the public’s understanding of the issue. The social operation is ongoing, and the IMC remains its enthusiastic surgeon.

Enemies of the People

It is not an easy thing for a doctor who spends the best part of his or her working life trying to solve people’s immediate problems, to be suddenly turned into a kind of pathology, and confined to the world of the anti-vaxxer and right-wing conspiracy theorist.

Yet that is the fate of any doctor who voiced criticism of Covid-policy. We remain under formal investigations, heading towards the end-game of sanctions and potential strike-offs. The personal struggles behind these investigations are given no public attention.

The necessity of belonging, to a society, to a fraternity of peers, even continuing to belong to one’s own family, all become tenuous when one is considered a pariah. For some, including myself, the isolation has led to a breakdown of sorts. My own ‘crash’ came in the form of simply running out of gas: facing up to the fact that my ‘gas’ is considered as a form of flatulence by most of my colleagues.

I have worked hard at keeping my family together, and that has been as much as I can handle, finding solace in bee keeping and a polytunnel. For other colleagues and their families, the consequences have been far more devastating.

In the mid-nineteenth century the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis suggested that surgeons were spreading disease by not washing their hands between operations. He was ostracised for his conspiratorial assertion. Ridiculed and vilified, he ended his days in a lunatic asylum.

Irish communities draw their strengths from being close knit, but this can lead to a damaging conformity, as our history with the Catholic Church readily demonstrates. Neighbours and friends soon learn who the ‘anti-vax’ doctor is. A whisper at the school gate or a snub in the supermarket may not qualify as an assault, yet it can be just as hurtful to the spouse or daughter of a ‘dangerous’ doctor.

There are, and were, many Irish doctors who publicly and privately rejected much of our conflicting and often, frankly, comical Covid policies. Too many to list here.

However, the pressures brought to bear from without, and the enormous financial incentives for the majority of GPs, were sufficient to ensure that serious questions, or even discussion, in respect of policies, was cancelled from the outset. Some GPs have their bicycle clubs sponsored by Pfizer and were most keen not to bite the hand that feeds.


I occupy a rather unpleasant space as one of the first to speak out against ‘scientific’ polices that led to upwards of a thousand deaths in Irish nursing homes over a period of a few months in early 2020.

I stood at bedside and watched my patients die, whilst a spouse or loved one sat crying in the car park or staring through the window outside. I struggled to obtain medicines, oxygen and PPE.  Many, if not most, deaths were the consequence of a policy of dumping untested hospital patients into nursing homes to make way for a Covid-19 ‘tsunami’ that ultimately manifested in empty makeshift hospitals and tic-toc videos of dancing medics.

An enduring myth in respect of those who died in the nursing homes is that that the ‘tragedy’ occurred everywhere equally. Yet throughout Europe, during the first wave, the highest per capita death toll in care homes occurred in Ireland. We hold the dubious record of being second highest in the world after Canada.

Those who complained about these deaths to the regulator, became the subject of investigation by the regulator, while those responsible are feted as heroes.

In March of 2020, I attempted to ‘whistle blow’ on the unfolding catastrophe of incompetence, and deprivation within the nursing homes. I resigned my Ministerial appointment in the hope that the Medical Council might investigate what might be considered as criminal manslaughter.

Yet they chose to ignore the dead and investigated me instead. In the media I found myself being dismissed as a ‘far right’, ‘conspiracy theorist’ and ‘anti-vaxxer’.

Far right is funny, as I am proudly left and liberal in my thinking. Anti-vaxxer is even funnier, as I have given more vaccines than I have had hot dinners. But ‘funny’ is perhaps the wrong word because it conceals some of the hurt endured by own family.

In one article in the Independent I was described as among those doctors giving ‘horse de-wormer’ to Covid patients.

Propaganda is a powerful tool. The wild accusations came late in the pandemic and seemed designed to highlight the ‘ridiculous’ things going on outside of the general medical adherence to ‘official guidelines’.

Dr Gerry Waters

Other Doctors who went much further than I could have gone have suffered more than insult and isolation. They and their loved ones are more courageous, and deserving of a voice that will be heard as soon as science is liberated from the shackles of dominant interests.

One such man is Dr Gerry Waters who adamantly refused to administer Covid-19 vaccinations to his non-vulnerable patients, and refused to refer patients for farcical PCR testing. From the start of the pandemic, he fully comprehended, who is, and who is not at risk from Covid-19.

He recognised that masking and injecting children was ethically and scientifically wrong, and fully understood that the essential impartiality of science had been hijacked by politics and media. In a partial validation of Dr Waters’ fears, the Irish public have smelled a rat, and to date, less than 25% of eligible children have taken the vaccine. Our rather expensive over-stock (some 4 million doses) is presently being donated to Mexico and elsewhere. A mere €25 million to be added to the bonfire.

Dr Waters stayed true to his conviction that, beyond protecting the elderly, Covid lockdown policy was socially destructive and itself seriously pathogenic.

Doubtless, he was of the same view as a friend of mine, a former dean of medical studies at RCSI, who told me: ‘we would have been far better off, had we done nothing at all.’ Imagine what could have been done to improve the country with the billions that were wasted?

Some Doctors in Ireland remain convinced that many people, old and young, could be alive today were it not for the inept response and draconian measures. Effectively, what began as a rallying cry to ‘protect the vulnerable’, culminated in policies that effectively threw them under the bus. Instructively, suicide statistics and missed diagnoses, for the Covid period have yet to be released.

After speaking the truth as he saw it, Dr Waters was rapidly investigated, tried, and subsequently suspended from the medical register; deprived of a livelihood and compelled (it would seem) to live out the remainder of his days in ignominy.

Resigning from my Practice

I am somewhat pleased that I managed to avoid administering this genetic vaccine. I contend to this day that many or most GPs in Ireland haven’t the faintest clue as to what a genetic vaccine actually is, never mind how they work and what are the potential risks involved. Unlike Dr Waters I took the less courageous step of simply resigning my post, before vaccinations became part of public policy.

For a time, I had been able to separate my practice of medicine from my convictions. Indeed, I have been doing that for years. I suspect most doctors operate with this contradiction most days, at least when we write prescriptions for medicines that many people don’t require.

At the start of the pandemic in 2020 I could work within the guidelines; refer for testing; visit my nursing home; wear a silly mask in the supermarket. As long as I showed that I was formally participating in the farce, I was relatively safe from the regulator.

However soon after resigning, they placed me under investigation, although they could find nothing to hang me with; except my opinion, contradicting NPHET and Professor Luke O’Neill, and a vocal stance in respect of the nursing home dead.

A lot of people, including many of my former patients were unhappy to see me closing the practice. Yet, regardless of my practical adherence to policy, my position as an advocate of only vaccinating the vulnerable, became untenable.

Every week I would hear from nurses, teachers, students and employees who were being threatened with dismissal unless they received the vaccine. I have never witnessed such a blatant assault on human rights. I shudder to this day when I recall how so many people were coerced and intimidated by the government, and by members of my profession.

Formal resignation from the HSE was my only option, as long as I wished to continue working as a GP. Private GPs are not contractually obligated to vaccinate anyone. I could manage by doing private work for a friend, and out of hours work at an on-call centre.

Formal Censorship

To state that the IMC was satisfied with silencing whistle-blowers or making an example of Dr Waters would be a gross understatement. Almost every doctor in Ireland who refuted policy and did not resign from their post, was either fired or placed under investigation.

Thus, Martin Feely a respected surgeon and clinical director of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, was forced to resign; Dr Pat Morrisey a principled and dedicated GP in Adare was both fired from the board of Shannon Doc, and placed under ongoing investigation by the Medical Council.

Offending doctors received written warnings from the then President of the Council, and others were placed under investigation for failing in their new duty to: ‘promote public health guidelines.’

One legacy of our colonial administration is a very efficient tax system, another is the efficient censorship of heretical opinions.

After two years as a member of the IMC I am entirely convinced that it is neither fit for purpose, nor does it have a practical leg to stand on when it comes to regulation. For the most part it makes its own work as it presides over a ‘General Register’ with little or no regulation at all.

Thus, untrained specialists are invited to come to Ireland from almost anywhere in Europe, and practice wherever and however they see fit, without specialist training; a situation that supplies regional and rural hospitals with ‘affordable’ specialists.

The public must suck up the consequences and the IMC keeps itself busy with the inevitable mistakes and complaints. For unqualified and untrained specialists, the back door into Ireland is through the front door of the IMC.

How to burn a heretic..

The most difficult consequence for a doctor who is placed under investigation by the IMC is without a doubt the process of investigation itself. I recognise this as a ‘gamekeeper who has turned poacher’.  Much of my time at the IMC was spent on the Council’s Preliminary Complaints Committee, tasked with conducting the initial investigation into complaints against doctors.

Once entangled in the Kafkaesque web of a formal inquiry, there is no escape until the investigation is completed. In many cases this takes several years. Formal letters are sent back and forth, requesting clarifications and further information, which must be formally replied to.

One cannot leave the country to work or volunteer abroad. One cannot easily change job, as any new or prospective employers must be informed that an investigation is ongoing. One’s professional life is essentially frozen beneath a question-mark.

Doctors who were openly critical of the Covid response, have been under investigation for over two years now. The IMC has chosen (with the notable exception of Dr Waters) to prolong these dissections for as long as possible.

It seems that what is important for both the government and the Council is that doctors critical of policy should remain under investigation for as long as possible. Anything he or she might say or do, any comment made whilst under investigation, can readily become part of the investigation itself.

Moreover, to refuse to engage fully with an investigation, to refuse to reply to the regular formal correspondence, is itself grounds for an immediate suspension.

The absurd basis of the investigation into me, is that I made an appearance at a public demonstration in 2020 and ‘may not have sanitised my hands between hand-shakes.’

To my knowledge, all of the GPs under investigation are locked into the process based on equally frivolous grounds. The pretext for investigation is unimportant, the investigations are sufficiently punitive and sufficiently censorious, hence their protracted duration.

Heads Above the Parapet

Perhaps the main reason for my now coming out of ‘hiding’, to tap impotently upon my keyboard, has been recent correspondence from the IMC. Some doctors have recently been informed that the investigations will now proceed to the next level of ‘formal hearings.’

After the IMC has finished its investigation process, it can then decide either to close the case, or proceed to a full Fitness to Practice Hearing. In this instance the doctor in question must appear before the Council’s court room, and plead a case for their continued right to earn a living. As these cases relate to a doctor’s opinion rather than any clinical practice, medical insurers have declined to pay for legal representation, and the doctor must pay for his own legal counsel.

There is a rich irony here, in that most if not all of the doctors under investigation, have themselves lodged formal complaints with the IMC in respect of registered doctors on NPHET, for ‘unscientific policies’ or financial conflicts of interest.

For example, several Doctors have lodged complaints against the President of the Irish College of General Practitioners in respect of his openly encouraging medical discrimination against non-vaccinated patients.

Also, at the height of the pandemic, Leo Varadkar re-registered as a doctor, helping to ‘man the phones’ and visit halting sites to test the Travelling Community. It was all a rather vulgar PR stunt lapped up by the media with a relish normally reserved for freshly baked cake.

However, when Dr Varadkar re-registered he became open to complaints to the IMC, along with Dr Holohan, and several other key policymakers. Without exception, not one of these complaints have been investigated. Instead, it is the doctors who lodged them who find themselves under ongoing investigations.

At a point when Leo Varadkar was found to have been leaking sensitive and lucrative contract details to a friend in General Practice, the then President of the Medical Council was busy issuing written warnings to fellow GPs that they had an ethical duty ‘promote government policy’.

Call for Caution

Some doctors in Ireland felt a moral and scientific obligation to understand how Covid vaccines work prior to administering them. Many advocated caution, particularly in respect of pregnancy and young healthy children.

My friend in Wexford is one example. A respected GP, a man of science and integrity, he vaccinated all of his elderly and vulnerable patients in keeping with HSE guidelines, but when it came to pregnant women and healthy young children he called for caution.

He reminded colleagues of their ethical obligation to ‘first do no harm’, and made no secret of his concerns and fears. In doing so he stepped outside of the public health policy, and into the crosshairs of the IMC.

Each IMC investigation and each insulting article in the media, along with the invective and scorn that is heaped on contrarians from within the profession itself, comes at a cost. In his case, a deep personal cost.

The most painful barbs are the ones that are cast into one’s private life. Spouses and children are no less attached to a doctor than they are attached to any husband or wife. Even with the best will in the world no doctor can keep the ramifications of an investigation from creeping into the most intimate spaces.

Those who objected to Covid policies are treated to daily realities that are small thorns: a neighbour looking at you with scorn; former friends crossing to the other side of the street; wives or children being subjected to insult or abuse simply because they are related to the newly christened ‘right-wing’ or ‘anti-vaxx’ doctor.

My friend in Wexford tried hard to toe the line whilst preserving his integrity and an uncompromising commitment to the welfare of his patients. He has a family and bills to pay. Full resignation from the HSE is not a financial option for all. He tried to work within the guidelines, whilst at the same time urging caution. He continued to work, for the sake of his patients, his family, to pay his mortgage, and help his daughters get through college.

Were he on his own and without dependants he (and probably me) might have stood tall and offered the Medical Council the two fingered salute, as Gerry Waters had courageously done.

He (like me), tried desperately for a time to justify his position to our profession, to our colleagues, with articles, references, papers from the most esteemed of Medical Journals etc. He pointed to the lack of safety data on the vaccine during pregnancy and in children. It was to no avail. His position was akin to a lamb trying to convince a pack of wolves of the virtues of vegetarianism.

Nonetheless, he defended his position upon an internet forum exclusive to GPs; and despite my words of caution, they tore him to pieces.

A couple of months ago, my brave friend found himself parked in a lonely spot in Wexford. When the authorities located him, he had taken enough pills to silence the wolves forever.

After two weeks in intensive care and a return from near death, he returned home to count his blessings, recover from his ordeal, and begin a life-long process of recovery.

Absolute Power

As a member of the IMC I was always intrigued at the efficacy and authority that a wealthy quango can wield. There is a sense of limitless power within the inner circle – reminiscent of a well-funded Big House – with a special relationship with the Minister.

At the IMC there is a department devoted to briefing and monitoring the press for issues that relate to the medical profession. Before each Council meeting a member of this office addresses the Council with a summary of what is happening in the media. It runs a little bit like “…and now what it says in the papers.”

I mention this to highlight that my friend, the Wexford GP, his near death, and the harrowing experience of his family and many of his patients, was highlighted in the national papers and the local press. Having gone missing for some days, news of his disappearance was reported in the national media.

There can be no doubt that the Medical Council was well-briefed about his ordeal. Yet within a week or two of his discharge from hospital he (and by proxy his family) received his letter from the IMC, informing him that he has been placed under formal investigation for his failure to promote Covid vaccination policy. He now faces an impending fitness to practice hearing, whereupon it will be decided if he too will be deprived of an ability to earn a living.

In its role as Grand Inquisitor, the Medical Council has destroyed the professional lives of many doctors, before, during and after Covid.

In my view, Irish Medicine is as rotten as any pathology it might pretend to address. This is a rot reflecting a wider rot in our political system. Perhaps it extends deep into the zeitgeist itself.

There is much to address in Irish medicine including inter alia our current mental health crisis, polypharmacy, corruption within the medical schools, defective specialist training schemes, deaths in nursing homes, relationship between pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, tensions between the public and private health sectors, and a general lack of regulation, but none of these seem to be of any concern to the IMC.

When the dust settled at the end of our last national crisis, the banking regulator was ultimately recognised as being guilty of catastrophic failures in respect of its duties and obligations. I suspect that if science is ever liberated from special interests, and media is free from a particular type of agenda, history will be seen to have repeated itself yet again.

Our teetering or collapsing system of medical care in Ireland is equally the consequence of an incompetent, and morally bankrupt, regulator.  As usual, there is no one to ‘police the police’, only a fickle public opinion, and a Minister who is as much dependent on the regulator as they are answerable to him.

As a post-colonial society, and in the ‘spirit’ of our times, we tip the cap, with the same deference as ever to the ‘Big House’.


About Author

Dr Marcus de Brun is a General Practitioner based in Dublin. He has completed Memberships to the New Zealand College of General Practice & The Irish College of General Practice. Prior to medicine, he completed a Degree in Microbiology at TCD. He also holds a diploma in Philosophy from the University of London. In April 2020 Dr De Brun resigned his seat on the Irish Medical Council in reaction to the Government handling of Nursing Home fatalities.

Comments are closed.