The Institute of Clinical Pharmachology in Dublin has about 1,000 volunteers a year , most of whom are male : even though Irish women have the highest incidence of cardio vascular disease in Europe, these drugs are not tested on females.
Volunteers are paid a standard £20 a day for their service , which works out at about 83p an hour. Grants to the Clinic of up to 50% are available from the IDA if the drug under test is to be manufactured here.
In the 1970’s , the Institute was known as a place where students could go if they wanted some ‘handy’ money. Predominantly , volunteers were students taking time out to collect money for fees or rent etc but , towards the end of the decade, things began to change : the prevailing economic conditions left more and more people without work , without money , and unemployed Dubliners took ‘advantage’ of the £20 a day on offer from the Institute , as a single unemployed person gets about £30 a week on the dole.
The prospect of £20 a day for , say, a 26-day straight test – total ‘earned’ £520 – must amount to an inducement , as it would take four months to get that amount on the dole…….
THE PETER BERRY PAPERS……. The Top Secret Memoirs of Ireland’s Most Powerful Civil Servant : Dirty Tricks, Election ’69/ Spying on a Unionist Politician/ Keeping the (State) Taoiseach informed/ The Garda Fallon Murder/ Advice to Jack Lynch- ‘Fire the pair of them…’/ Vivion De Valera’s advice to O’Malley/ Rumours of a Coup D’Etat/ The Internment Plot, November 1970/ Secret Meeting with William Craig.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , June 1980.
” From February 1948 , on the change of government, until March 1957 when Fianna Fail took over again , I retained custody of the confidential papers although I was in higher ranks and dealing with broader Departmental matters : it suited everybody , in particular the new Secretary and Assistant Secretary , to have somebody around who could reel off facts and figures or turn up precedents from memory.
During the Border Campaign of 1956/1962, I was one of a team of three – the others being the Attorney General ,Andrias O Caoimh, and the Legal Adviser of the Department of External Affairs – who prepared the case against Lawless which came before the Human Rights Commission and the International Court of Justice at Strasbourg. I attended the hearings , with my job being to make up the dossier of facts to deal with the legal aspects.
Again the writing and re-writing of the history of IRA activities to justify the government’s use of the powers of detention without trial imprinted on my mind details which time has not erased. In the course of the Strasbourg hearings I got to know the Head of ‘S Branch’, Philip McMahon , very well, as he had been subpoenaed as a witness before the Commission of Human Rights and I formed a great respect for his integrity and knowledge of his subject : at the time he was being described in Tim Pat Coogan’s book ‘Ireland Since the Rising’, as “…the nemesis of the IRA..” . And so he was…….”
At the time of writing , industrial unrest in France is on-going and , with a bit of luck, will spread from France to elsewhere – like here , in Ireland , for instance.
We Irish used to have that ‘back-bone’ – to take to the streets over injustices , to strike from our jobs when the bosses attempted to take back or reduce that which we had won by standing together , to riot in the streets when those same bosses – backed by a complient media and supported by the political establishment and the brute force of that establishment and silently (and sometimes not that silently) supported by a weak trade union leadership – attempted to increase their profits by “reducing their expenditure” ie by reducing the workforce and/or reducing the wage paid to each employee as well as by attempting to change whatever terms , conditions and work practices which that workforce had obtained to make their working life that bit more bearable.
That ‘Spirit of Resistance’ is still present , albeit not as prevalent or as widespread as it once was : people seem to be , for the most part , ‘browbeaten’ , subjuded by a combination of malignant forces that has left them scared to raise their head above the parapet.
We on this blog have helped place pickets on the offices of those politicians who have introduced and/or supported financial and social cutbacks on workers and the unemployed , we have protested at the presence of State politicians at a community function when the actions of those same politicians have devestated that same community and we have been on the streets protesting against the unreal and unfair ‘bank bailouts’ and , as trade union members ourselves, we are in full agreement with like-minded observers who point out that those in the leadership of the trade union movement – whilst promoted as ‘radicals’ by the establishment – are , in actual fact , the paid-for ‘pet rebels’ of that same State establishment.
And , whilst we fully intend to continue doing all of the above , it would make it all the more worthwhile to us if we could do so in the company of others that also had the ‘Esprit of the French’. But we won’t let the (temporary) absence of same deter us…!