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Debunked: No, Leo Varadkar is not going to the Supreme Court to make a coronavirus vaccine mandatory

Claims made in a Facebook post are confirmed to be false by Department of An Taoiseach

Factcheck

A FACEBOOK POST claims that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will make a coronavirus vaccine mandatory for all by taking a case to the Supreme Court. 

The post, which appeared on a public Irish Facebook page, has been shared 30 times since being posted on 5 June. 

SC-Factcheck-Final The post that claims a vaccine will be made mandatory

The post, which claims that the information was heard through the “grapevine”, questions how the action can be stopped.

Supreme Court

The post alleges that the Taoiseach will try to bring in mandatory coronavirus vaccinations through a case in the Supreme Court.

However, under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, this is not possible. 

The only person in Ireland who can refer anything to the Supreme Court is the President, Michael D Higgins, who can refer legislation to the court to test its constitutionality.

This is the primary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, but it does allow for appeals from the High Court or the Court of Appeal in limited circumstances.

Alongside this, the jurisdiction of the courts does not allow them to create laws – only the Oireachtas has that ability.

In addition, there have been no laws passed by the Oireachtas since 27 March. This is because legislation needs to pass through a full Seanad and the Dáil. Currently there isn’t a full Seanad – there are still 11 nominees to be assigned, and that can only be done by a newly elected Taoiseach. As no government has yet been formed after the recent election, this hasn’t been possible yet.

As well as this, there has been no discussion of bringing in mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus within the Dáil.

The Department of the Taoiseach also confirmed this part of the claim to be false. When asked about the post, a spokesperson said: 

“We can confirm that it is false.” 

Finally, while there are trials ongoing, no vaccine for Covid-19 has been released.

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not. 

STOP, THINK AND CHECK 

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie.  

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