Thursday, 21 July 2011

"This is not Rome" A sea-change in Ireland.

Yesterday In the Ireland of , Eamom Develera and the The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland (removed from the constitution in 1975) a controversial reference to the "special position" of the Roman Catholic Church . The current  Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave an unprecedented speech to the Dáil, excoriating the Vatican for its efforts to block co-operation with the investigation by civil authorities of clerical child abuse:

for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic, as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.
And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism… the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.
 He rebuked the Vatican  for putting the position of the Church above consideration of the children abused by priests.
The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’.
There was anger, but it was controlled, as a steelily determined Taoiseach asserted the primacy of the Republic:…this is not Rome.Nor is it industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world.
"This is the ‘Republic’ of Ireland 2011.A Republic of laws… of rights and responsibilities… of proper civic order… where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version… of a particular kind of ‘morality’… will no longer be tolerated or ignored."

I doubt that the Dail had ever heard such an attack on the power of the Catholic church even from a humble TD or Senator.

I think its a bit early to misquote Yeats and say

Catholic Irelands dead and gone it's with Develera in his grave.

But it will be interesting to see to what extent Enda Kenny who has never been seen as a particularly  charismatic politician and his Fine Gael /Labour  coalition with its huge majority will further distance themselves from the influence of the Catholic Church whose pat influence whould make Ruper Murdoch green with envy.

Perhaps there are parallels here  Politicians on both sides of the Irish sea who have always resented the undemocratic influence of powerful interests  may well cease on the chance to lessen this  and perhaps both Islands will be better of for this

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