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Poots' potty plan to fluoridate Northern Ireland

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Poots' potty plan to impose water fluoridation in Northern Ireland has no legal legs!

Doug Cross
20th May 2010

Exceeding his authority by a spectacular margin, Edwin Poots, Minister for Health in Northern Ireland, last week claimed (predictably) that the children there have ‘the worst teeth in Europe’ and that he therefore planned to introduce fluoridation to combat this scourge. He has no idea what he has taken on - UKCAF for a start!

Now he needs to wake up from his dream world and do a little essential homework! The Water (Fluoridation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, was repealed back in 2009, and the new legislation enabling fluoridation in England contains no specific provision for the fluoridation clauses in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to extend the new arrangement to Northern Ireland.

A ‘Legislative Consent Motion’ of the NI Assembly on 8th March 2011, resolved to ‘cooperate with bodies exercising functions in relation to public health’ with respect to the application of certain functions of the new English Health and Social Care Act. As seems to be government policy nowadays, the wording of the new Act conveniently fails to specify precisely what these ‘certain functions’ might include.

Mr Poots’ ambition appears to be rather larger than his actual Ministerial Brief. He seems to be blissfully unaware that virtually every Council in Northern Ireland has a policy against fluoridation - we know, they joined UKCAF almost 20 years ago!

Councillors in the Six Counties are only too well aware of the disastrous effects that this practice has had on children across the border. Their children may have marginally less healthy teeth than those in the Republic - and where is your impartial and reliable evidence of that, then, Mr Poots? - but they certainly don’t fancy the kids getting an entirely avoidable and unwanted new epidemic of the disfiguring dental fluorosis that the dental public health officials and so-called ‘researchers’ in the Republic are so anxious to avoid talking about in public.

And of course, Mr Poots appears to be blissfully unaware of Dr Shaw’s conclusion that fluoridation is founded on a ‘legal fiction’, and so is illegal! So will he now back off and wait until the lawyers have ruled on whether his plan is actually lawful, or will he try to follow South Central Strategic Health Authority’s ill-advised lead and attempt to impose his idiot plan before he too is eventually abolished? We will watch to see how this little farce develops with considerable amusement!

Meanwhile, we have gently pointed out to Mr. Poots that he needs to take his advisers’ submissions on medical matters with a larger pinch of salt that he seems accustomed to applying at present!

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