The leader of the pro-Irexit Irish Freedom Party has been helping to lead a campaign in the European Parliament against rules requiring Covid-19 vaccine certificates.
Hermann Kelly was hired earlier this year as press officer for the anti-vaccination Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes of the Christian Democratic National Peasants’ Party, according to The Irish Times.
The Irish man, who previously worked for Ukip leader Nigel Farage, is among those challenging the introduction of the rules requiring the EU Digital Covid cert on entry to the parliament's buildings.
The cert requires proof of vaccination, a negative test or recovery from Covid-19, with free tests available to staff and MEPs at the parliament.
Kelly has co-ordinated English-language communication for Terhes, who has campaigned against Covid certs while Romania has experienced a Covid death rate 17 times that of Ireland’s over the past fortnight.
Kelly spoke to The Irish Times from his bedroom in Brussels, where he was in quarantine after developing Covid-19 symptoms on November 20th and testing positive the following day.
The infection forced him to cancel a trip to Ireland in late November, when he had been due to hold events in Dungarvan, Lismore and Waterford, advertised by posters claiming that Irish death figures make no sense and likening Covid certs to “apartheid”.
“If people want to take a vaccine and they want to take two, five or 10 per month, I'm very happy for them,” Kelly said. “I previously have taken every vaccine that was ever required of me... But this one I will not."
He questioned whether the number of deaths from Covid-19 merited the use of vaccine certs to contain infections, while playing down the seriousness of the illness as a "bad flu".
"I was the guy who rarely missed a day of school. I really do have a very good immune system," he said, pausing to cough occasionally. "I rarely get sick."
A recent campaign video on YouTube showed Kelly walking alongside MEP Terhes up to the entrance of the European Parliament, where the MEP refused to show a Covid-19 pass and confronted security staff, who replied that he was free to enter but that they would have to file a report.
Kelly said it is a great “achievement” that he and Terhes have been able to enter the European Parliament twice without using digital certs.
The media’s Covid coverage is an example of “monomania” and disproportionate to the number of deaths caused, he said. “[The vaccine] does reduce the symptoms, it reduces your chance of serious sickness and death. That is true,” he said. “My problem is, I won’t be dictated by the state what I put inside my body.”
Kelly said his boss aims to avoid commenting on whether vaccines work or not.
“He’s talking about their mandatory nature, an attack on people’s bodily integrity and right to choose. Remember, during the referendum in Ireland, ‘My body, my choice’? Well, he’s basically saying that.”
The European Parliament website lists Kelly as an “accredited assistant” for Terhes, a role that comes with an EU salary of at least €3,000 a month, but can be higher. “EU taxpayers have many, many different views,” he said.