Nude calendars are now firmly established as a fundraising vehicle for good causes, but they‘re still unusual in Ireland, where a 2014 Naked Fluoride Calendar featuring male and female health campaigners is bankrolling a Supreme Court battle against the Irish Government.
The brave people from across Ireland who posed for The Naked Fluoride Calendar 2014 want to end Ireland’s 49-year-old policy of mandatory water fluoridation, which studies have linked to higher rates of bone cancer, osteoporosis and thyroid illness.
Since the Calendar Girls film of how women from a Yorkshire Women’s Institute branch posed 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 featuring naked flesh 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 last year on Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Quay. Backed by journalists from Hot Press, the music magazine which has supported the Campaign for more than a year..
The Naked Fluoride Calendar 2014 went on sale for 9.99 euro just as Sinn Fein legislation to outlaw the practice was debated in The Dail. Two days later the Government announced a U Turn on previous policy, by asking the Department of Health to organise a new review of water fluoridation.
Scientist Declan Waugh, who has produced two reports which compare the rates of disease in Ireland with non-fluoridated Northern Ireland believes that the evidence against fluorides is now too strong to ignore.
Sales of the 2014 Naked Fluoride Calendar have revitalised the 50-year-old battle against fluoirdes in Ireland’s water, which thousands of people now believe endangers human, animal and marine health.
Ireland is one of only two countries in the world which still has a national policy compelling water fluoridation. Most European countries have banned it (Like the Netherlands), or abandoned it after scientific studies identified it as a high risk activity which can affect the brain and bone development of young children.
One political party with no doubt about the effects of fluorides is Sinn Fein. The party’s Environmental Spokesman is Louth TD Brian Stanley, whose mother died from thyroid illness. Stanley‘s bill, to make water fluoridation in the Republic a criminal offence failed, and he also attended the calendar launch.
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 Nobel prize Winning lawyer Sean McBride and by former Fine Gael Minister Richie Ryan. Campaigners believe the health benefits of ending fluoridation here would be enormous. Banning fluoridation would also save us around 4.5M Euro per annum. This could be used to upgrade Ireland’s creaking Victorian water supply system. Problems with Dublin’s water in 2013 resulted in a million people being cut off and unable to flush the loo or brush their teeth between 8pm and 8am for almost a week.
Aisling Fitzgibbon campaigns as The Girl Against Fluoride through her web site and social media, where she has more than 15000 supporters. Her campaign team includes her mother Martha Brassil,a teacher and nutritionist, who encouraged her daughter to strip in public, after other tactics failed to attract media attention. The calendar will fund their 2014 Supreme Court challenge against mandatory water fluoridation, which could cost 25,000 euro.