Another Societal Milestone Passed; What Next for Progressing Ireland?

Last Saturday’s overwhelmingly positive referendum outcome in support of constitutional recognition for same-sex marriage was a great result for progress, equality, liberty, inclusion, rights for everyone and all things good in Ireland. It was a proud and historic moment for Irish society generally and especially for those Irish citizens living in the Republic who had and positively utilised the residential privilege to vote. To think homosexual acts were only decriminalised in the state 22 years ago in 1993

Having found themselves under the repressive moral and social grip of an overbearing Catholic Church for most of the last century, the Irish people in the south are finally demonstrating an admirable collective moral courage in shaking off the last remaining vestiges of a residual and rigid legal conservatism from that time. For that, they must be congratulated. Saturday was a massive day for inspiring people like David Norris who have spent their entire lives being subjected to and fighting homophobic prejudice whilst campaigning for equal recognition, simply so they could just be themselves and live in the same way as any other decent Irish citizen.

And homophobia – that including expressions of disdain or hostility towards or support for discriminatory and exclusionary measures against gay people, in all its forms, including direct, indirect, explicit and subtle – should be called out as such when it is witnessed or experienced, for if those who are engaged in it are allowed to stage-manage the terms and vocabulary of debate by disingenuously crying “persecution” so as to prevent others from being able to effectively confront them on their prejudice transparent to all but themselves, we may as well not have debate at all. Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s words ought to be instructive for those who so keenly play the “victim” card when the term is used to expose them:

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.

The people in the south have demonstrated they are prepared to lead Ireland forward as a modern, progressive society and into the future with the increasingly liberal spirit of the majority of people on the island behind them. Only Ireland’s north-eastern corner now lags behind legally on the issue of same-sex marriage recognition due to the dominant position in power there of the same old obstructionist dinosaurs who, I suppose in fairness to them, were able to learn at least one word during their lifetimes in spite of their devout obtuseness; unfortunately that word was “no“. I would echo the sentiment of an Sionnach Fionn with regard to the present undesirable situation for those in the north:

It is unacceptable that Irish men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation or original gender, should be denied their full rights as citizens of this republic simply because they are forced to live under the authority of the “Northern Pale”. Civil rights – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights – cannot be “partitioned” as our nation is.

Indeed, those unionists of evangelical persuasion and pre-Enlightenment era modes of thinking are perhaps even more conservative on broad social matters than the Irish Catholic Church might be, but their intolerance and veto too shall be toppled in time. Equality is the future. Whether entirely rational or not, even secular unionists in the north have long and into the modern era feared that all-island Irish independence would result in Catholic domination over the Irish and Ulster Protestant tradition; “Home Rule is Rome Rule” went the old slogan of protest, but howls of condemnation in a similar vain today would certainly ring very hollow. The southern advancement and openness towards inclusion for all is something that can only help build concrete bridges of unity between the island’s divided communities and politically-partitioned people in the future.

So, socially-speaking, on top of ensuring island-wide recognition for same-sex marital rights, what is next for progressing Ireland in the immediate? Whilst I am absolutely delighted with Saturday’s result and feel a distinct sense of pride in that our national identity can now truly be said to be a forward-looking one (somewhat amusingly, the liberal German ego, feeling leapfrogged by its peripheral European partner on such a key contemporary social issue, has resultantly found itself in a haunted state of discomfort, questioning its own assured sense of cultural self-regard, and forced to reformulate its lowly opinion of “the arch-Catholic conservative backwater that progress forgot“; I think they call my feeling a sense of schadenfreude, so forgive me!), there still remain further radical steps to be navigated in regard to social issues.

With movement at last now also being made on matters like gender identity recognition in the south (although the proposed Gender Recognition Bill 2013 is not without its faults), the very pressing concern of properly recognising and protecting full reproductive rights for women must be the next major social question tackled by Irish society, both north and south of the border. I am more specifically referring to the need for Irish women to have full bodily autonomy and the free choice to family-plan. It must entirely be a woman’s business what she can and cannot do with her own body, with what is inside it and with what is entirely dependent upon it. Neither the state, nor anyone else, when it comes down to it, has any business restricting a woman’s autonomy over her own body.

The present situation in the south whereby it must be established as a matter of probability that there is a real and substantial risk to the life of a pregnant woman (even if her state of health is severely grave) before she might be legally permitted to have her pregnancy terminated is an intolerable one. The extraordinarily restrictive Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, which was introduced with the failed intention of providing medical practitioners with legal guidelines, in terms of the rare circumstance when a termination might be justified, in response to the tragic 2012 death of Savita Halappanavar, from whom access to abortive treatment was withheld despite repeated requests and her deteriorating health condition on account of complications arising from her pregnancy, would not actually have guaranteed the saving of Mrs. Halappanavar’s life. Unfortunately, women’s experiences do not feature heavily in Irish discourse on abortion.

The restrictive and still-uncertain nature of southern Irish law over this sphere also led directly to the absolutely obscene and abhorrent situation just last December whereby a woman, who was clinically brain-dead, was being kept alive on a life-support machine over a matter of weeks and against her family’s wishes for the reason that she had been four-months-pregnant when she died in hospital from a fall and injury to her head. The exceptionally grim resulting reality was described in graphic and distressing detail in the Irish Independent:

Dr Frances Colreavy, an expert in intensive care medicine from the Mater Hospital, said she had concerns about the current situation being prolonged.

“I would describe it as experimental medicine,” she said.

She examined the woman yesterday and found her face to be puffy. There was an oozing wound to her head and a possible infection to her abdomen.

“On examination, the lady who is deceased about three weeks does not look well. There is a photograph on the windowsill in her room of her and her two children, but there is no resemblance,” said Dr Colreavy.

Make-up was applied to the woman’s face as her two young children, were visiting her yesterday for the first time since she had become brain dead.

“The little girl, when she saw her for the first time, was very distressed,” said Dr Colreavy.

She outlined how she observed six different syringe pumps beside the hospital bed and how the woman was being given a range of antibiotics to combat infections.

She said there was a huge problem with fluid therapy. The woman’s bowels have to be stimulated, a wound to her head needs continual dressing and she needs to be turned regularly to avoid pressure sores.

The doctor outlined that when the woman was moved from a hospital in Dublin to her current hospital, she was showing signs of pneumonia.

Referring to the wound to the head, she said the woman was also being treated with an MRSA drug and had neurosurgical meningitis.

She said she did not want to upset members of the family present, but the “brain is rotting” and there was “evidence of fungus growing” on part of the brain.

Dr Colreavy said the woman’s abdomen was “unlike any” she had ever seen.

There were blue, red and purple colouring along the stretch marks, which suggested there may be an infection.

An MRI would be required to investigate this, but the facility is not available at the hospital.

A chest X ray indicated huge amounts of fluid inside or outside the lungs.

Even the Catholic clergy were appalled by the horrific and tragic nature of the circumstances, but this was an unintended situation that arose directly from the very restrictions they pushed so hard to impose upon Irish women by enshrining the equal right to life of the unborn and mother into Bunreacht na hÉireann in 1983.

Thankfully, sanity prevailed over the shame-inducing ordeal and the High Court swiftly ruled that, on the basis the unborn had no reasonable chance of survival, the life-support could be switched off. It was bad enough that medical practitioners overseeing the woman in hospital had felt too stunted to act decisively by the surrounding legal uncertainty that a legal action by the family was necessitated in order to force some desperately-needed clarity, but what might have transpired had the medical experts and court felt there was a significant chance the unborn would have survived with health? Might the deceased woman – her remains in rot – have remained hooked up to the life-support machine, essentially performing the function of an incubator for the state, for another five months with her grieving family, desperate to provide her with a dignified farewell, resigned to simply waiting against their will for the return of her to them? The present legislation is clearly woefully inept, even at doing what it is supposed to do. The legal situation for Irish women in the north is just as draconian; major revamp is required on both sides of the border.

With enthusiasm and progressive wind in Irish sails, can last Saturday prove a national watershed moment? Let us hope that the southern extension of marital rights to same-sex couples can now encourage us as a nation to think more imaginatively about further all-island socio-political reform and what other rights and protections we can extend to our many citizens in want and need.

The above piece is also published here on Daniel’s blog.

Photo: Pro-‘yes’ street art in Dublin by Shota Kotake featuring Fred Rickwood and Charles Hedges from the Father Ted episode ‘A Song for Europe‘ (Peter Hannon, Dublin).

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  • MacRiada

    There is nothing progressive about abortion on demand.

    An unborn human has the right to be born.

  • David Arnold

    ”What next for progressing Ireland?”

    How about we make it a criminal offence for consenting adults to have sex if payment is involved and give considerable sums of public money to a ‘rescue’ organisation heavily linked to the Magdalene Orders?

    One step forward, two steps back….

  • Jim Woods

    What’s progressive about being gang raped refused next day pill and being forced to have a baby by the state.
    How many children are you prepared to take into your home. Presumably you have volunteered your services to the adoption services.

  • Turgon

    ” I am more specifically referring to the need for Irish women to have full bodily autonomy and the free choice to family-plan. It must entirely be a woman’s business what she can and cannot do with her own body, with what is inside it and with what is entirely dependent upon it.”

    So you support sex selective abortion should a woman want that. Or for that matter if a “gay gene” were ever discovered a woman would have the right to abort such a foetus if she chose: It being entirely a woman’s business etc.

  • Zig70

    Sure, bring a camera and just tell the cops you are making a movie. Then it is all perfectly legal.

  • Zig70

    Are you sure the morning after pill is banned in the South? http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/M/Morning-after-pill/
    http://www.thejournal.ie/morning-after-pill-2-2077829-May2015/
    Beats me what Gay marriage and abortion have in common. Might as well discuss soap and bananas in the same article.

  • Jim Woods

    I agree just emphasising how these religious fundementalist jump at any opportunity to shove their views on other people

  • Peter L

    The moral decline in the South of Ireland is complete.

  • Old Mortality

    Daniel
    ‘Having found themselves under the repressive moral and social grip of an overbearing Catholic Church for most of the last century…’

    Have you ever asked yourself why the Roman Catholic church continued to exercise such dominion over the Irish long after the rest of Europe had ceased to comply and only the third world remained fully obedient?
    In all the backslapping about how incredibly liberal they’ve become, are the Irish simply too ashamed to reflect on it?

  • MacRiada

    Are you referring to me as a ‘religious fundamentalist’!?

    Where do I refer to religion in my post.

    Your contribution was invalid, as Zig70 showed you.

    Surely people are entitled to respond to the opinion outlined in the article? And I disagree with the opinion that abortion on demand is progressive.

  • Mister_Joe

    Well, now that you have cleared up any misunderstanding that some folks might have had, maybe you could pronounce any “rights” a woman has, who has been raped and left pregnant.

  • anne

    When a state(eg UK or other EU countries ) has a modern abortion law women, as counselled by their doctors, can choose which option is better for them and the unborn child. if it’s an abortion -fine. If another woman doesn’t want to have an abortion no state permitting abortion will compel her to have one. Why cant 50% of the population be free to choose what to do with their own bodies in accordance with medical counselling?
    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/abortion-on-demand-now/

  • Korhomme

    If only; this freedom of speech idea won’t wash here. And neither will the idea that a third party is paying.

  • David Arnold

    I bet you hanker for the good old days when ‘fallen women’ were imprisoned and abused in laundries, when families consisted of 16 kids, when homosexuals were imprisoned and persecuted and when we got our moral standards from an organisation who oversaw the multiple rape of our children. Good times.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Hes talking about the unborn child Joe. Not the mother. If you want to talk about rights, how about the right to life?
    I’ll never understand how people like you consider the selfish interests of a person over the right of an unborn baby to live.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    What’s progressive about being gang raped” – nothing

    “refused next day pill” – to stop an unborn life being terminated

    “being forced to have a baby by the state” – babies happen naturally. I think you are talking about the laws of the state saying you cant kill your unborn baby just because you don’t want it. currently this is only after a certain amount of time has passed.

    “How many children are you prepared to take into your home” -don’t be a dick. no one person can look after every child. but the state can.
    pro abortion people are just selfish people who want to be able to kill unwanted babies because it would be too inconvenient for them to let them live.

  • Carl Mark

    That what the post says, you see that’s the problem with freedom people sometimes do things you don’t like!

  • Mister_Joe

    That’s your problem, not mine.
    I don’t claim any right for me; I just beleive that it’s no business of mine what a woman decides to do with her body.

  • Carl Mark

    I know, hasn’t been the same since they shut those laundry’s!

  • Carl Mark

    Oh hang about, betcha someone brings up incest soon.

  • Peter L

    Read the “Jon Jay” report into sexual abuse in the Church and you’ll find that it was homosexual priests who committed the abuse,these “priests” were welcomed into the Church after the Second Vatican Council.Over eighty percent of these so called priests confirmed they were homosexual when interviewed.Also,nearly eighty five percent of those abused were male and were aged between eleven and nineteen years old.If that’s not a homosexual problem,you need blinkers.

    Sixteen kids represents a large family,but,at least none of them got pulled limb from limb inside their mothers womb and it’s not the fault of the Catholic Church if some men were not able to show some virtue.We take cats and dogs to the vet to get them neutered because we don’t believe they can develop disciplined reproductive habits,just like we do now with the human population of Ireland.

    The “fallen women” of the laundries was wrong,so is giving the promiscuous a blank cheque of endless benefits to support and encourage their promiscuity while others have to be responsible for their actions.

    I know my words are meaningless to you,but,that’s to be expected in a world that promotes sodomy,promiscuity and immorality.

    Have a nice evening,sir.

  • Carl Mark

    did the Catholic Church not cover it up and allow the abusers to continue abusing.
    did they not make the victims sign pledges not to tell anybody else, guilty as sin my good man guilty as sin!

  • Peter L

    They certainly did cover up the abuse and I hope those who abused and covered up meet their maker and have judgement passed.

  • Carl Mark

    so you agree the church was implicit in the cover up of abuse, hard to blame it of just a few bad apples if was covered up in a systematic manner all the way to the top.
    Hardly the people to be trusted when it come to advice on moral matters then.

  • Carl Mark

    Oh and I think it was happening long before the second Vatican council,

  • Mister_Joe

    ” pro abortion people…”

    Straw man frequently erected by anti-abortion folks. I have never met a pro-abortion person. I’m not one myself but believe in pro-choice by any woman who finds herself pregnant.

  • Carl Mark

    The south is moving on, maturing as a society.
    Its a pity we cannot say the same about the DUP or indeed any of the Looney Christian right in the north.

  • I wouldn’t be ashamed to reflect upon it. Despite its obvious and considerable stature, it seems the Catholic Church was very successful in aligning itself to an oppressed sense of Irishness. Irishness was re-imagined and presented as rural, Gaelic and Catholic in stark contrast to the perceived identity of the old urban, anglophone and Protestant colonial master, Britain. Irish people were perhaps more keen to submissively rally around an institution like the Church to offer collective guidance under such circumstances. Why do you think it was?

    Seán Ó Faoláin further observed a collective moral cowardice and suggested the following, which I would imagine is close to the mark:

  • I support choice; making that choice (for whatever reason, even if other people might not approve) is entirely a woman’s business.

  • So when was that moral utopia you were referring to again?…

  • Robin Keogh

    How can it be only a woman’s issue. I accept there are circumstances where a termination should be available without the woman having to suffer further stress and trauma. But where two adults, man and woman have concieved a child under consensual engagement, how is the womans right to destroy the baby superior to the man’s right to save it? Or vice versa for that matter. There is a moumental difference between adjusting the law in order to provide equal rights to living citizens and adjusting the law to allow for the deliberate distruction of a life depriving it of the opportunity to grow and experience the wonder of living.

  • I was writing in light of the referendum passing being a possible watershed moment for social reform in Ireland and spoke of gender recognition and reproductive rights as examples of pressing matters that require tackling in that sphere.

  • A pregnant woman may not be the only party concerned or affected, but the fate of a feotus (that is inside *her* body) remains her business. I’ve considered the difficult dilemma you pose (and I don’t dismiss it lightly), but what is the practical consequence of giving a concerned man a degree of autonomy or equal legal standing over this matter. Ideally, he would be consulted and his opinion considered, but, ultimately, the decision can still only be a woman’s. Otherwise, a man effectively has the power to force a pregnant woman to carry a feotus completely against her will.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The words “fairness,” “equality” and “progressive,” all words much loved by politicians, become subjective and meaningless when not measured against absolute values. What is on offer here no longer has an absolute set of moral ethics; you have abandoned western society’s Judaeo-Christian roots and simply embraced a very old fashioned decadence

    The word “Progressive” is a lazy vacuous platitude; the last refuge of a political scoundrel.

  • Jim Woods

    But I can safely assume you must have adopted at least two children or do you expect somebody else to do this for you. Or do you expect them to be placed in homes and paid for by the tax payer

  • Jim Woods

    I Agree on pro choice. I don’t see how an 8 cells zygote had any rights at all all. Let alone a “soul”. I would have a different view on a 5 or 7 month fetus.

  • Jim Woods

    What constitutes life. An 8 cell zygote has potential but is not a person it dosn’t even have a brain. What your definition of life is a sperm a potential “life”

  • Jim Woods

    What makes Judaeo Christian morals “right” or any other religion for that matter. The sooner we abandon religious attitudes and morals the better.

  • terence patrick hewett

    I did not venture an opinion on the rightness or wrongness just a comparison between platitudes and absolutes.

  • Jim Woods

    We’re morals are concerned there are not absolutes only personal subjective opinions

  • terence patrick hewett

    I’m sorry; moral codes deal in dogmas and absolutes: if the letters of the Morse code meant anything we wanted them to mean then Arthur could mean Martha: oops, back to block one!

  • Jim Woods

    Suggest one moral absolute and I can gave the opposite opinion if I choose to. So moral absolutes are entirely personal. So they are not absolutes as society would judge them.

  • terence patrick hewett

    You may of course not choose to live by any code: but that does not make absolutes any the less absolute.

    The classical concept of Hell was not red-hot devils doing interesting things to yr rear-end with a trident but Kaos

    The human brain is hard wired to find patterns: just stare at a patterned wallpaper or a cloudy sky and the brain starts to form pictures.

    Again you may not choose to live by any code: by all means dance down Brick Lane E.1. with a bacon sarnie in one hand and a can of special brew in the other, singing “Hey, Hey, I’m proud to be Gay”

    But I venture to suggest that it won’t do much for yr shelf life!

  • Jim Woods

    You seem to be fixated that absolutes exist outside the personal subjective opinions of individuals. Again you cannot put forward one absolute that cannot be contridicted. Therefore absolutes do not exist in the context of morals.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Pi is an absolute: which explains why science proceeds magisterially whilst the humanities are tying themselves up in knots like this.

  • Carl Mark

    But you did venture a opinion you said,

    What is on offer here no longer has an absolute set of moral ethics; you have abandoned western society’s Judaeo-Christian roots and simply embraced a very old fashioned decadence”
    Which is a opinion, a very badly informed opinion consisting of a series of clichés, but a opinion none the less.

  • Carl Mark

    hate to tell you this but the Morse code is not a moral code, it has no relationship to morality.
    And this claim that morals are absolute is nonsense, Moral codes change over time and place.
    Do you still stone Adulterers, is eating pork still a sin for Christains, do you think a father has the right to make his daughter marry the person he chose’s.
    All these things were once considered moral now they are not!

  • terence patrick hewett

    all codes are the same: they rely on absolutes.

  • Carl Mark

    So you think we should live by a pattern we think we see, interesting.
    Nice bit of irrelevant abuse at the end, be sure to talk like that when the debate opens up in earnest, you can sit beside Mrs White the audience will love it!

  • terence patrick hewett

    don’t agree.

  • Carl Mark

    Am NO they don’t,
    Moral codes are different from Computer codes and signal’s
    If your moral code was a absolute it would be shared across all of Christianity but as many Christians on slugger (and the Irish referendum ) have shown you musings only represent a minority of Christians.

  • terence patrick hewett

    no

  • terence patrick hewett

    don’t respond to provocation.

  • Jim Woods

    You are correct about humanities Ie there are no moral absolutes. Pi is in fact an an unresolved constant I’m mot sure what it’s moral attitude is though.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Carl! Carl!

  • terence patrick hewett

    Ah sure it’s a great life!

  • Carl Mark

    Nor do you defend your statements!

  • Carl Mark

    So you are saying that unlike maths, morality is not absolute, good we agree on something at least.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Not unresolved just not quantified.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Yr flogging a dead equine here Carl!

  • Jim Woods

    It is not quantifiable as it’s a recurring decimal fraction so is unresolvable. What it has to do with moral attitudes seems to have been lost in the conversation.

  • Carl Mark

    I know, you rarely can back up what you claim and this tendency to troll when challenged is normal for you as well.

    I have enjoyed you comparing morality to PI and the Morse code that was funny.

    Tell you what if you ever get any proof that morality is a absolute then get back to us,
    – …. .. -. -.- -… . ..-. — .-. . -.– — ..- – -.– .–. .
    Bye

  • Carl Mark

    This is a old trick of TPH, when challenged on his posts he reverts to this sort of diversionary tactic.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
    Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
    Brought death into the World, and all our woe

    Thus does John Milton frame the argument in his epic poem Paradise Lost; that Satan, an heroic but flawed figure, is brought down by Pride: tortured by the knowledge of his reliance upon his Creator, he argues that he should have equal rights to God and that Heaven is an unfair Monarchy. Satan is cast as a classical hero but because of his arrogance and delusion ends as a dust eating serpent unable to control even his own body. The devils logic:

    “The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

    Everything changes and nothing is absolute he says.

    ‘What has Athens to do with Jerusalem’, snarled Tertullian; the answer is; a great deal. It has often been said that Socialism in these isles owes more to Methodism than to Marx. That once was true; it recognised implicitly that individualism was hard-wired into western societies, by the Christian concept of the infinite value of the individual soul. Buttressed by Roman Law it became the great reforming force of western civilisation and it is notable by its absence, in the other great cultures of the past; those of Islam, Hindu India, and China. It also has a very good idea of what is owed to Caesar and what is owed to God.

    “It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense, and can’t see things as they are.” says G K Chesterton’s Father Brown. And not seeing things as they are seems to be the root of societies problems.

    Paradise Lost is not an idle analogy. When society ceased to believe in God, it sublimated God to Self; and so ceased to resemble a still mostly theist world, and abandoned the bedrock of European culture.

  • Carl Mark

    So we have two new gospel’s (and I thought there was only four ) do I have to get a new bible or are inserts available.
    You indeed are the master of the irrelevant.

  • terence patrick hewett

    See you at Vanity Fair or Highgate Cemetery?

  • Carl Mark

    Forgive me if I am wrong, are you attacking the South for taking too long to do something you are opposed to and which has not happened up here yet?

  • Carl Mark

    Neither my friend, or perhaps both.
    I would ask you to explain that strange statement but you don’t do explaining do you.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Brother Karl is buried at Highgate and all the sins of the world are on sale at Bunyan’s Vanity Fair.

  • Carl Mark

    Vanity Fair it is then, sounds like a lot more fun than a graveyard.

  • Old Mortality

    Carl
    No. I’m simply wondering why the Irish were so submissive to doctrines that were promulgated in Rome and were designed to apply universally, whereas the rest of Catholic Europe simply ignored large chunks. Maybe the Irish got the church they deserved.

  • Old Mortality

    Daniel
    If I understand you correctly, having achieved independence, the Irish needed another institution to direct it. In other words, they were incapable of autonomy.
    It was always risible when leading Irish politicians pompously described themselves as republicans when they would not have been recognised as such in most of continental Europe.
    They must have felt particularly uncomfortable during the Spanish Civil War when republicans were murdering priests.

  • Carl Mark

    We all get the church we deserve.
    but do you agree with the new consensus in Ireland or do you agree with the old one.
    where do you stand on Gay marriage.
    Do you think we should catch up with them and ignore large chunks of Catholic theology (and Protestant fundamentalist) because it seems to me that you are criticising the south or taking so long to do something that we haven’t got round to doing yet.

  • Old Mortality

    Carl
    You’re possibly right but remind me please when contraception and divorce became legal in N.I.

  • Carl Mark

    Indeed the south caught up with us there now we are the backwoodsman of Europe.

  • There are no objective moral absolutes; there are simply subjective perceptions and contrasting perspectives.

    Why shouldn’t we abandon that which stifles our personal development, agency and sense of self? What does the out-moded Judeo-Christian moral straitjacket offer people in the modern world?

  • Quite possibly; perhaps Ireland was a nation so subdued, it lacked the courage and will to lead even itself. Ireland’s slow economic and industrial development (compared to the rest of western Europe) surely also helped maintain ideal conditions for superstition and religious dogma to prevail.

    I think I agree with much of what you say there. Catholicism and republicanism (which ought to be secular in its truest sense) are not good bedfellows.

    You avoided my question though; why do you think the Church was able to exercise such dominion over Ireland?

  • Reader

    pi isn’t recurring. I have no idea what ‘unresolvable’ means…

  • Old Mortality

    ‘do you agree with the new consensus in Ireland…
    I don’t care since I don’t live there but I wouldn’t describe a 62:38 split as a ‘consensus’.

    ‘Do you think we should catch up with them…’

    No. I find the whole question of homosexual marriage a ludicrous distraction. I do favour wider availability of abortion, however.
    That is the Catholic church’s last ditch and until the Irish breach that, they will not have escaped their submission. I would remind you that abortion is legally available in many countries where homosexual marriage is not. Voting in favour of homosexual was merely an attention-seeking gesture.

  • Old Mortality

    Daniel
    I thought that was obvious. Ireland was socially a third-world society marooned on the edge of Europe. Hence more pliable material for the RC church. I suppose you will characterise that as a legacy of colonialism. It might have been better if the Irish had waited until the 1950s and 1960s for independence like the rest of Britain’s third-world colonies. Ireland certainly wasn’t Australia or Canada.

  • Old Mortality

    Carl
    Indeed they have, but it is only recently. I was just musing on why it took so long. My argument is that it’s the Irish themselves who are to blame, not the church which they voluntarily obeyed.

  • How would you characterise it?

  • Carl Mark

    So you are criticising the south for taking so long to do something that you don’t think is right.
    Do you label the same accusations at the north (we after all are heavily influenced by a religious group that the rest of Europe (including England and Scotland) have assigned to history, so surely we (since we are behind the south) by your reckoning are even more backward.
    Unless of course you are just south bashing and haven’t really thought this through!

  • Carl Mark

    Unresolvable means that no matter how many decimal points you go to the answer is not precise.
    The most powerful computer in the universe could work till the end of time calculating Pi and still not arrive at a final number.
    Unlike TPH I think we all got his number pretty quickly

  • David Arnold

    Gosh Peter where do I start? It’s a feast ‘sir’.

    First up, you’re very much missing the point on the clerical abuse scandal. Regardless of the sexuality of the actual abusers, the church you regard so highly was responsible for silencing the victims, moving the rapists of children around the country and lying constantly. This was unacceptable for any organisation. For an organisation supposedly representing God and dictating moral standards, it was the very personification of evil and has (quite rightly) all but destroyed the church in Ireland as well as further afield. Faciltitating and covering up child rape is, was and always will be completely unacceptable. Glad we’ve cleared that up.

    ”Sixteen kids represents a large family.” Quite the understatement. Rather than condemning women to be baby machines and expecting men to refrain from sex inside marriage, how about endorsing the use of contraception? Wow so simple eh? Apparently not to the church though, who must be gutted to notice that just about no-one in Ireland follows their daft edict on condoms and can think for themselves these days.

    I’m pleased you agree that the ‘fallen women’ of the laundries was wrong. How do you feel about the Magdalenes new hobby (under the guise of Ruhama) of trying to ‘rescue’ sex workers and put them in ‘safe accommodation’. Good idea?

    Not so glad you equate the laundry women with promiscuity. No cases of rape by family members or clergy then? No incidents of incest or of girls made pregnant by one innocent encounter aided by a lack of sex education?

    Sorry ‘sir’ but if the Catholic Church represent ‘morality’, the rest of us are better thinking for ourselves.

    You have a nice evening too.

  • Roger

    People in Cork were always dodgy.