Inevitable attack on #RepealThe8th movement targets Amnesty Ireland and Colm O’Gorman

THE ISSUE

Colm O’Gorman is both Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland and a leader of the #RepealThe8th campaign, thus making him a prime target for the so-called ‘Pro-Life’ movement.

THE MEDIA

Article by Amnesty International from Amnesty.ie on Friday, December 8, 2017

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS UNDER THREAT FROM DRACONIAN LAW AND AMNESTY COULD FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES

SIPOC wrote to Amnesty International Ireland only last year to acknowledge that its work on reforming Ireland’s abortion laws, which includes the work supported by the OSF grant, was not in breach of the [Electoral] Act

THE COMMENT

My attention was drawn to this matter by a string of ‘outrage’ posts from the usual right-wing suspects on Twitter such as John McGuirk and Evert Bopp.

The perennial trolls make several references to supposed ‘illegal actions’ by Amnesty.ie and have been recycling the same argument all weekend.  Obviously only a fool would take their social media opinions at face value without making an effort to get Amnesty’s side of the story, which is very different as you can see by the above link.

What interests me about this is how the law in question is being applied.  Ireland is great at passing laws but when it comes to enforcing them, not so much.  While it does look like Amnesty was in technical violation of the said Act, it also seems that they were singled out by the authority in question, after previously being advised that they were ok.

Imagine a road with a 60km speed limit on which cars travel daily above and beyond that level without penalty.  Suddenly a group of ‘concerned citizens’ inform the gardaí about one vehicle in particular, after which an officer is dispatched with a speed gun to patrol the road to catch that one suspect without checking all the others.

We could use another analogy, calling this a political equivalent of racial profiling.  Amnesty [and by extension the Irish mainstream media for not covering this to the liking of Messrs McGuirk and Bopp] are being accused of political bias when you would have to question the motives of those who initiated this controversy by registering a string of complaints with SIPOC.

I wonder how much scrutiny of funding the likes of Iona Institute and Libertas could handle.

With public opinion strongly in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution, it was inevitable that the so-called ‘Pro-Life’ movement would work behind the scenes to pull any kind of stunt they could to try and tip the scales the other way.  It’s a shame that they have managed to persuade and official body to help them in their cause, but hopefully enough people see sense to realise for what it is and not take it any further.

#IANWAE

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Big step for #RepealThe8th movement as Oireachtas committee set to back up Citizens’ Assembly

THE ISSUE

The Irish Government has been considering the Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution which enshrined the protection of unborn children after a referendum in 1983.

THE MEDIA

Article by Sarah Bardon in Irish Times on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Oireachtas committee set to recommend repeal of Eighth Amendment

Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher said trying to replace or amend article 40.3.3 is not practical, insisting a straight repeal is the only option.

THE COMMENT

I’m no fan of Fianna Fáil but when they or Fine Gael or indeed any political party falls on the right side of an issue I’m happy to give them their due.

After hearing the opinion of experts from all points on the vast spectrum of this issue, first the Citizens’ Assembly and now a multi-party Oireachtas Committee, it seems the will of the Irish people has changed drastically from the two-thirds yes vote from the referendum back in Ireland’s Dark Ages, also known as the 80s.

Of course the so-called Pro Life movement is making accusations of ‘bias’ because apparently their ‘side’ of the argument didn’t get the 50/50 coverage they wanted but as I said earlier, it’s a spectrum rather than a two-sided coin and the Iona Institute position lies only at one extreme end and thus should receive a proportionate amount of exposure.

It’s not over yet though – this article simply states that the committee is ‘set to recommend’ repeal.  They still have to actually recommend it.  Then the Dáil needs to organise a referendum for straight repeal with a simple yes or no option for the Irish people, not some fudge involving complicated wording.

Here’s hoping the committee members go on to back up their words with action next week.

#IANWAE

It’s official – Trump White House believes in evolution!

He’s only been in the job for a couple of days [or to put it another way, only enough time for a few dozen angry Trump tweets] and already the new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has damaged the Trump 2020 re-election campaign.

Who could have possibly known that after being appointed to such a high profile job, the general public would trawl through his past tweets?  And there were certainly some gems found in there…

Scaramucci tweets

This is just one of several tweets which put Scaramucci in favour of strict gun control.  With the Republicans firmly in the pocket of the NRA, this clearly would not do.  How does the new Spin-Doctor General handle it?  Like this…

Oh, right! Well, that’s OK then!  So he has ‘evolved’, has he?  Fine.

So why don’t we just tuck this gem of a story in our back pocket until Trump runs for re-election, shall we?  Because you can be sure that the second the Democrats confirm their candidate, the GOP will start looking for dirt from their past, and that will no doubt include opinions they have held.

Clearly Scaramucci has provided them with the perfect response.  Assuming his tenure lasts to the 2020 campaign, that is – with this White House, you never know…  JLP

#IANWAE

 

 

Can you dispute any of these ten points as basic human rights?

1. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE FREE.
2. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HEALTHY.
3. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE BRILLIANT.
4. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE.
5. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE LOVED.
6. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE COURAGEOUS.
7. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ALIVE.
8. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TRUSTED.
9. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE EDUCATED.
10. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.

What is your reaction to those ten points?

  1. Is it something like  – “Yes, they all make sense.”
  2. Or is it something like – “No, that’s bullshit.”
  3. Or is it something like – “Hmmm….tell me what the source is first?”

If it is the second one, fine.  Off you go.  You’re welcome to this site, but you probably won’t find anything you want here.

If it’s the third one, fine – here’s the source.

Now you know the source, is your answer 1 or 2?

Just a thought for the day.  Hat-tip to The Edge of Sports podcast.

Sorry we haven’t been posting much lately.  We hope to get back to it soon.  JLP

#IANWAE

Social Democrats call for separation of Church and State after #TuamBabies

We’re not sharing this Dáil speech by Catherine Murphy TD from the Social Democrats website because we have a particular preference for the party itself; it’s just we like the fact that something like this is being said in our national parliament.

“if Tuam has shown us anything it is that the State must take responsibility for its citizens and that the Church has no legitimacy in the healthcare, education or politics governing our citizens.”

No doubt there are other TDs who share Murphy’s sentiment, but unfortunately among the total amount of TD they would be very much in the minority.  I wonder if that would be the case if a referendum were held on the matter?

The Father Of All Scandals #tuambabies (repost)

[After the findings of the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes, we have reposted this blog from June 8, 2014]

Much has been said about the #TuamBabies during the week, and when it comes to the vagaries of the Catholic Church and what they have gotten up to on this island since the formation of the State, there’s not that much I can add.

But at the risk of appearing to deflect attention from the Church, there is one key element of this outrage that I feel isn’t being mentioned at all.

There were 796 babies reportedly “discarded” in Tuam.  That means there are up to 796 fathers who are just as much involved in this story as the mothers, the babies and those in the institution involved.

Of course the whole reason for the existence of the institution was that the identities of the fathers was kept secret, so it’s not as though I could realistically expect us to ever discover any of their names.

But why aren’t we at least talking about them? 

Too much goes wrong in society at large because of the supposed need to protect people we deem to be important.  And the girls who were unfortunate to find themselves in these mother-and-baby institutions were usually being “blamed” for their situation.

We all know this to be wrong now, but as well as calling foul on the Church for their part in it, we should also be acknowledging exactly who is to blame.

Sure, such places like Bon Secours (which amazingly translates to “good relief”) contributed to a system whereby men, and more often than not men with a so-called “respectable” standing in society, had a ready-made “get out of jail free” card whenever their libidos got the better of them, often within their own family.  But I’m sure I’m not the only one sickened by that last sentence, so surely if lessons are to be learned from all of this we must start there.

Do we honestly think the root of this problem has gone away just because these institutions ceased to exist over 50 years ago on this island?  Hell no. 

Men are still acting on their urges today are they not?  And they have just as much need to have those urges hidden so they can remain in their lofty positions – only now we have things like sex trafficking to provide the supply to their demand. 

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten I’m a man myself – but that’s my point.  Just because I am one doesn’t mean I should feel the need to defend the actions of these people, not by a long shot.  In fact, it should be people like me towards the front of the queue crying foul because I believe those of us who like to think we treat women with respect are very much in the majority.

And when the women who find themselves caught up in those horrible businesses get pregnant, the “inconvenience” is still “dealt with”, only in a different way, and you can bet your bottom Euro the father is nowhere to be seen.

I hope the true extent of the #TuamBabies scandal around the country is discovered, but I also hope we derive the correct lessons from it. 

Sure, it is another stick with which to beat the Catholic Church, but as much as I’d be happy to wield said stick, I cannot ignore the fact that it is merely a subset of a patriarchal mindset which still thrives throughout the western so-called civilisation and the longer we avoid talking about it, the longer it will endure. JLP