Nude calendars are now firmly established as a fundraising vehicle for good causes, but they‘re still unusual in Ireland. The 2014 Naked Fluoride Calendar was launched on Thursday, featuring shots of health campaigners who have stripped to fund a High Court battle against the Irish Government.
The brave men and women from across Ireland who posed for The Naked Fluoride Calendar 2014 acted to end Ireland’s 49-year-old policy of mandatory water fluoridation, which studies have shown is linked to higher rates of bone cancer, osteoporosis and thyroid illness.
The Fluoride Calendar girls and boys joined their ringleader, nutritionist Aisling Fitzgibbon, 27, from Kerry, at the White Lady art gallery on Dublin’s Wellington Quay on Thursday night to launch the 2014 Calendar and party with DJs and journalists from Hot Press, the music magazine which has supported the Campaign to end forced fluoridation in Ireland all through 2013.
The Naked Fluoride Calendar 2014 went on sale for €9.99, just as the Sinn Féin legislation, drawn up to outlaw the practice, is due to be debated in The Dáil.
Just two days earlier, the Government quietly announced a u-turn on its previous policy on fluorides, by asking the Health Service Executive to set up a new Working Group to review whether Ireland should end 50 years of compulsory water fluoridation.
Since the Calendar Girls film which told the story of women from a Yorkshire Women’s Institute branch, posing nude back in 1999, hundreds of other groups have made nude calendars to raise money for good causes. Irish Firefighters have posed nude to raise money for better equipment, and UK military wives recently posed in awesome remote landscapes to raise money to help veterans badly affected by post traumatic stress. While The Garrison Girls calendar sold out, other nude calendars have attracted criticism from people who think that calendars highlighting naked flesh can demean women.
Environmental Scientist Declan Waugh, who has been researching the effects of fluorides on health for over two years, was also at the Fluoride calendar launch. He has produced two reports comparing the rates of disease in Ireland with non-fluoridated Northern Ireland. He believes that the evidence against fluorides is now too strong to ignore and that the government has no need to waste time and money on a Review.
Sales of the 2014 Naked Fluoride Calendar look set to revitalise the 50-year-old battle against Ireland’s water policy, which thousands now believe poses a significant threat to human, animal and marine health. One of the calendar girls was Hot Press Journalist Adrienne Murphy, who is concerned that fluorides in water may be connected to the high rates of autism in Ireland.
Ireland is one of only three countries in the world which still has a national policy compelling water fluoridation. Most other European countries have banned it, or abandoned it after scientific studies identified it as a high risk activity which can affect the brain and bone development of young children. Israel is set to ban fluorides in its water, as have towns in Canada, Portland, in the USA and Hamilton, New Zealand. All have voted against Fluorides in recent referenda .
One political party that has no doubt about fluorides being unsafe is Sinn Féin. Louth TD and Spokesperson on Environment Brian Stanley’s mother died from thyroid illness. Stanley‘s bill, if passed, will make water fluoridation in the Republic a criminal offence.
Fluoridation began in Ireland in 1965, after Gladys Ryan, a Dublin Mother-of-five, lost a six-week Supreme Court battle to prevent it. Gladys was represented in court by civil rights lawyer Sean McBride and by former Fine Gael Minister Richie Ryan. The Girl Against Fluoride calender refers to these earlier campaigners, stating that the campaign is carrying on their work.
The calendar campaigners believe the health benefits of ending fluoridation in Ireland would be enormous. Banning fluoridation would also save us lots of money – a minimum of €4.5M per annum. This could be used to upgrade Ireland’s creaking Victorian water supply system. Problems with Dublin’s water recently resulted in a million people being cut off. Consumers who are shortly expected to pay for a water supply that used to be free were unable to flush the loo, or brush their teeth between the hours of 8pm and 8am for almost a week.
Aisling Fitzgibbon campaigns as The Girl Against Fluoride through her web site and social media. She has more than 15000 supporters. Her campaign team includes her mother Martha Brassil, a teacher and nutritionist, who encouraged her to strip in public, after other tactics failed to attract attention. The calendar will fund their 2014 Supreme Court challenge against mandatory water fluoridation, and could cost €25,000. The Calendars were going like hot cakes at the launch, so if you want one , order it fast.
Please visit www.thegirlagainstfluoride.com for further information.