Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Senator Ronan Mullen seeks re-election...

Dear friends,

Beatha agus sláinte! Please ignore and excuse this message if you have had some email from me directly over the last number of weeks. I am sending this email to contacts on an old list but there may be some overlap.

(If you haven’t heard from me in a while, maybe you might let me know and I’ll add you to my newer list. I try not to plague people but I might send you an occasional message if that’s alright.)

Ballots are now arriving by registered post for the Seanad election on the NUI graduate panel. I am seeking re-election and I would be very grateful for any support you can give. There are 27 candidates running. It will be a tight race and every single vote counts. The deadline for completed ballots to reach the NUI is 11 a.m. on 27th April.

If you are a registered NUI graduate voter, please consider me for your No. 1 vote or highest available preference. I would also be very grateful if you saw fit to mention me to NUI graduates among your family, friends and colleagues.

Please see for more information about my political values and proposals.

Since my election in 2007 I have sought to test policy and legislaton for how it impacts on human dignity in particular. I introduced the first ever Oireachtas debate on the need for better quality end-of-life care in our hospitals, nursing home and at home. Working with organizations like Ruhama, I have been vocal on the issues facing victims of human trafficking. I introduced the Stem Cell Research (Protection of Human Embryos) Bill – legislation which would protect human embryos while supporting highly promising adult stem cell research.

I believe that investment in education is critical to our social and economic recovery. I favour state support for denominational and other schools – the key value being respect for person, and for the values and preferences of parents and communities.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.

With best wishes. Beir bua agus beannacht,



Rónán Mullen
Senator, NUI Graduate Panel
Leinster House
Dublin 2
087 2446911

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bring back the Blue Hussars

An officer of the Cardinal Legate

Regarding the forthcoming State visit. It's not the first time that the Queen has visted Ireland. Unless you are an extreme Unionist and believe that the six counties are part of Britian and not Ireland.

I, for one, will not be in attendance. Firstly, because I am a Jacobite. Secondly, because the State's ceremonial is terrifically boring. If Betty had a mounted escort and a few Heralds to announce her arrival I might make the effort. But, alas, because modern Ireland espouses a negative Nationalism anything which is redolent of perfidious Albion is automatically tainted.

There was a time when there was a colourful aspect to the Irish army.

The Lord Mayor

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The High Court Judgement in England and how IT WILL affect Eire…

The recent High Court judgement in England is totally perverse. Effectively Mi Lords have suggested that Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics are unsuitable as foster carers, and that homosexual ‘rights’ trump freedom of conscience in the UK.
For some time I have wondered why the ‘Rights’ industry seems to think that ‘Rights’ are primarily about protecting the interests of people who engage in unnatural sexual acts. In concrete terms what this means is that the Gay community have ‘rights’ which have priority over any rights that the Catholic community may be said to enjoy.
Since Mi Lords have decided that parents are harming their children, by virtue of telling them that buggery is wrong, how long will it be before social workers remove children from parents who hold such ethical views? I estimate ten years.
How will all this affect Ireland? Well, to be blunt, the dominant culture is Anglo-American. Which means that what happens, in social terms, in England has a nasty habit of migrating over here. So, we can expect similar legal rulings in about ten year’s time.
The only solution is for parents to wake up to the fact that turning their children into Anglo-American cultural clones is morally inadvisable.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

'Badchick' didn't make it. My hearty commiserations. To coin a phrase: better luck the next time my dear!

As far as I can make out Ivana Bacik has two political roles in life. One is to campaign against female genital mutilation (fair enough) and the other is to campaign for legalised abortion. There are some highly amusing comments on regarding her ongoing political embarrassments. This one caught my eye:

Let's see -

2004: Ran in European Elections, failed to be elected
2009: Dublin Central Bye-Election, failed to be elected
2010: Labour Party selection convention, Dublin SE, failed to get nomination
2011: General Election, Dún Laoghaire, failed to be elected

In fairness, I will give her every credit for perseverance, but her experience with the voters this time is far from being a once-off.

When will this dear lady wake up to the fact that nobody wants her. Even in leafy, liberal Dun Laoghaire. She has no appeal politically, visually, intellectually or otherwise. Anyone who has seen and  heard her, in whatever context, knows this:

Monday, 28 February 2011

Philosophers' World Cup

Well, the Greeks might not have won the economic argument with Germany. But the bail out does not extend to the realm of ideas:

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Stepping up the pressure on Fine Gael

With reference to my previous post regarding contacting the various parties via

I've been getting some feedback from various politicians: two from FG (including Enda Kenny's office) and one from FF. 

Surveying the political landscape, my hunch is that FG think they are benefiting from the relatively pro-life position they have adopted. Let's be honest, we all know that the economic debate is a non-issue because whoever gets elected is going to be towing the IMF/EU line. However, the pro-life dimension to this election has made it possible for FG to put some clear blue water between themselves and Labour.

Which brings me on to my next point. This is the standard response which FG seem to be e mailing to people:

Thank you for your mail and for making your views known. I am against the legalisation of abortion. Fine Gael will establish an all-party Oireachtas Committee, with access to medical and legal expertise, to consider the implications of  the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights and to make recommendations. Such a process would, we believe, be the best way of examining the issues in a way that respects the range of sincerely-held views on this matter. Fine Gael’s representatives will bring to the proposed all-party committee a clear commitment that women in pregnancy will receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives, and that the duty of care to preserve the life of the baby will also be upheld. Fine Gael is opposed to research conducted on human embryos, but favours alternative stem cell research that does not involve human embryos such as adult stem cell and umbilical cord research.

Unfortunately this isn't good enough because Oireachtas Committees tend to be socially liberal. Also, as I have made clear to those TDs who have responded:

Only a commitment to oppose direct and intentional abortion, in all circumstances, from the moment of conception would be morally and legally sufficient. If you give the judges any leeway they will take it.
Fine Gael Clarifies Position on Abortion
This is a timely message from the LIFEZINE WEB SITE:

Ask Candidates to Protect the UnbornAs the General Election approaches, it is becoming clear that it will have decisive consequences for Ireland’s law on abortion. It is essential that candidates and political parties are made aware how much the Irish people care about the protection of unborn human life. You can raise this issue with your local candidates, and it will only take you a minute. Visit Opinionviewer today to send an email to every candidate in your constituency, asking them for a commitment to oppose legislation permitting abortion. Opinionviewer is an automated system that allows you to send simultaneous messages to all of the relevant candidates. The whole process takes less than sixty seconds. Surely you can spare that much time to help keep abortion out of Ireland.
David Quinn on the main parties...

This is a useful analysis of how the main parties stand in relation to some of the key moral issues affecting Ireland. However, why all the fuss about Denominational schools? After all, the 'Catholic' schools lost their ethos years ago and are probably largely counter-productive.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Fine Gael are currently on 37% and moving upwards (dramatically). The Independents are on 15% and so it is entirely conceiveable that they might be forming a government with them. In the light of the Labour Party's pro-abortion position the pro-life argument might be decisive in the run up to election day.

There is not much we can do; but there are things that we can do. If we don't feel up to phoning Radio stations then we can at least send e mails:

In the current climate a Fine Gael victory, with a couple of good indos, would be the least worst result. Given the perverse nature of the Left you can be sure that Labour would 'hard-wire' an abortion policy into any programme for Government. Furthermore you can be sure that if Fine Gael resorted to a coalition with them any pro-life 'convictions' would be 'modified' in the quest for power. It's therefore important that the FG lead increases.

More on the Labour Party's pro-abortion position:

Ireland- United for Life!:

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Quinn Slams Labour Over Abortion    
David Quinn, Director of the Iona Institute, has used his weekly column in the Irish Independent to argue that Catholics cannot in conscience vote for the Labour Party in the forthcoming general election, because a vote for Labour is a vote for abortion. He argues that “Labour party policy is pro-abortion. Therefore, on a very important issue Labour is utterly at variance with the beliefs of the vast majority of serious-minded practising Catholics. ” He accused Labour candidates who canvass for votes at churches of being “particularly cynical” since there is such a “profound gulf between Labour and the Catholic Church on [the abortion] issue.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Ireland United for Life!

Director of Precious Life Bernadette Smyth, joined Dana Rosemary Scallon and Kathy Sinnott, together with an all-island alliance of over thirty cross community groups, Ireland United for Life, to challenge party leaders and candidates in the forthcoming Irish General Election to give a binding election pledge to defend human life at all stages.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Labour Party Accused of ‘Rank Hypocrisy’ on Abortion

I listened to the Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, on the Radio (RTE 1) recently and he made it clear that he wanted to see abortion legalised in order to protect the 'life and the health' of the woman concerned. What I really hate about Labour Party pro-aborts is that they they couldn't give a fig about a woman's health. They know that in virtually all cases direct and intentional abortion damages the health of the mother (psychologically and physically). The other thing is that they just don't have the courage of their convictions. If you were to ask them whether they were pro-abortion they would say no when in fact they would all vote for its introduction.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

 “Erin Go Braugh” (sic!)

Gerry Ryan and RTÉ’s Cocaine Cover-Up

I picked up this small piece from the Family and Life web site (

I have often wondered why top RTE presenters need to be paid so much. Well, in case you were wondering, it's important that they remain divorced both from truth and reality. As a result some of them, like Gerry Ryan, will have an expensive habit to feed. Keeping your head in the clouds can be a pricey business.

It's odd that dear old Gerry used to have a go at the old Drugs Barons since they partially facilitated his 'lifestyle'. It's also odd that he used to have a go at the clergy for facilitating child abuse when, of course, he partially funded an 'industry' which regularly facilitates murder:

The radio broadcaster, Gerry Ryan, was found dead in his Dublin apartment on April 30, 2010. The postmortem showed indications that cocaine and alcohol had killed him. However, the official report of the inquest was only made public on December 10 last year, and confirmed what many people had suspected. However, RTÉ was strangely silent about the cocaine habit of its once top star. He was one of our best, the station seemed to say, and—rightly or wrongly—we don’t want to hear anything bad about him.
It is very clear that RTÉ felt it necessary to engage in damage control over what must be considered a major scandal. After all, Gerry Ryan was one of their top performers, paid an astronomical yearly salary of €600,000, and, to cap it, is remembered for his uninhibited attacks during his radio programme on drugs and the drug bosses.
There are a few little questions that arise from Gerry Ryan’s actions. This was a man who presented himself as the fearless critic of hypocrisy and double standards, especially in the higher ranks of Church and State. He also used his celebrity status and morning radio programme to send out a strong anti-drugs message, even while spending part of his grand salary on feeding his cocaine habit. That might be considered hypocrisy in some quarters, but apparently not in RTÉ. More seriously, the revelation of Ryan’s double life will undoubtedly undermine the efforts of those working to dissuade young people from getting into drugs.
Cocaine is the chosen drug of the elite, and, judging by the report in the Sunday Times (20.12.'10) Ryan’s behaviour should not have been a complete surprise to his fellow workers.
Indignant at what he saw as RTÉ’s complicit silence, Gareth O’Callaghan, a prominent TV presenter and close friend of Gerry Ryan, spilled the beans, as it were. In an interview published in the Sunday Independent, he claimed that cocaine use is rampant in RTÉ. O’Callaghan is also a psychotherapist, specialising in anxiety and depression, and has first-hand knowledge of the effects of drug addiction. He revealed that Ryan was already an addict in 2003, and that other well-known figures in Montrose were regular coke consumers. He reiterated that Ryan’s cocaine use was common knowledge among friends and journalists.
The reaction to his revelations was predictable, denial from the station’s chiefs and indignation from its leading figures. Joe Duffy, another scourge of public corruption, stated that Ryan’s addiction “only inflicted harm on himself and not on anyone else”. Unbelievable! With its hand on its collective heart, RTÉ assured us that it knew nothing about cocaine use, and its silence was not a cover-up but done “largely out of respect for our late colleague and out of sympathy and respect for his family”, as Kevin Dawson, head of communications, put it.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Spot the Chalk and Cheese of Marriage

Family and Life have just posted an interesting article on the latest Central Statistics Office data relating to marriage.

Over 22% of marriages are now 'civil' affairs. Of course, if they take place between Catholics they enjoy State legality but not Ecclesiastical legality. Some of these marriages will also have taken place between people not eligible to be married in a Catholic Church.

As Father Brian McKevitt OP points out: “What the Church offers is a union of a man and woman that is simply unbreakable, it is for life. Nothing short of death can end it. What the state offers is a union that can be ended if either person decides later on that he or she wants out. ... In this way a civil marriage resembles cohabitation, where either party is free to end the relationship and walk away.''

This is another example of how the Church offers a plan for social stability; whereas the modern Liberal State can do no such thing.

Spot the Chalk and Cheese of Marriage...    

Monday, 7 February 2011

Something you didn't know - South Armagh is an area of outstanding feminine beauty!

Well it was a long time in coming but this could give South Armagh a significant boost in terms of Tourist numbers. According to Dominic Bradley (MLA) an accurate translation would read:

‘Welcome to the Ring of Gullion – Area of Outstanding Feminine Beauty’.

DRD thinks Slieve Gullion lasses are the prettiest: Bradley

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Christian Anthropology v the Sexual Revolution

Sex is not a substitute for God. (Via A Conservative Blog for Peace.) In the words of Peter Kreeft:
The moral revolution is confined to sex. We are not allowed to steal another man's money without being put into jail, but we can steal another man's wife. You cannot betray your lawyer without being severely penalized, but you can betray your wife, and SHE is severely penalized. You cannot kill bald eagles or blue whales without being a criminal but you can kill your own children as long as you do it a second before the two blades of the scissors meet in the middle of the umbilical cord rather than a second after, or a second before the body emerges from the birth canal rather than a second after. What kind of logic is this?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

'The Feminine Mystique and the Unattainable Dream of Sex Equality, plus some more controversial matters'

To say that Peter Hitchens commentaries on social issues are incisive would be an understatement. Not least so on this occasion. Be a Comely Maiden not a Feminist!:
This is a very interesting report about discrimination against Christians in Europe:

Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe

'The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians is an NGO registered in Austria. The Observatory hosts a website which monitors and catalogues instances in which Christians and Christianity are marginalized or discriminated against throughout Europe. The Observatory focuses on Europe (European Union, EU accession countries, and wider Europe).'

Born of parents who never danced together

'I am a human being, yet I was conceived with a technique that had its origins in animal husbandry. Worst of all, farmers kept better records of their cattle's genealogy than assisted reproductive clinics had kept for the donor conceived people of my era. It also made me feel strange to think that my genes were spliced together from two people who were never in love, never danced together, had never even met one another.'
Varieties of Liberal Experience

William James famously wrote a book called Varieties of Religious Experience, a title Carl Sagan aped with his Varieties of Scientific Experience. I have been thinking recently how interesting it would be to read a book called Varieties of Liberal Experience, one that anatomised the different “flavours” of liberalism.
Liberalism is a fascinating subject.  It is too easy to simply decry it, or to lump all forms of liberalism together. But, of course, the term applies to very different philosophies—for instance, in America, what a European might call socialism is often called liberalism.

But what I find less interesting than abstract schools of thought are the forms liberalism takes in practice; how it is lived, the view of the world it entails in individual cases.

I thought about this when I was listening to Fintan O’Toole on the radio. I am not a fan of Mr. O’Toole, but he does seem to me one of the last “old guard” liberals in the country; someone who could easily have written for Sean O’Faoláin or Peadar O’Donnell in The Bell. That is, someone who has all the correct progressive opinions on subjects such as censorship, nationalism and religion, but who believes culture is important and retains—how to put it?—a certain gleam of the transcendent on their mental horizon. They tend to believe, for example, in the cultural significance of religion, in the importance of a national literature, and a certain tenderness towards tradition and the past. (Anthony Cronin is another example.)

When religion decays, as Matthew Arnold understood, the idea of the sacred lingers, but is invested in various substitutes for religion. First comes nationalism; next comes art and poetry and culture in general; after that, political emancipation and human rights; finally, science. The sequence may be slightly different, and the cult of different idols may overlap, but I think that is a fair description of the post-religious decline.

It seems to me that the hour of the Fintan O’Tooles is almost past and we are faced today with a much less gentlemanly, less cultured liberalism; one plunging towards scientism, where ideas such as dignity and equality and human rights will draw sniggers. And when that happens, someone might remember to write a book called The Birth and Death of Irish Liberalism.

Maolsheachlann OCeallaigh

Monday, 31 January 2011

Ivana Bacik Needs To Have A Sit Down

I am not a chap that likes to repeat himself. I find it a frightful bore. On one occasion, while holidaying in Sub Saharan Africa, some Arab chap failed to grasp at the first time of asking what I’d asked him in my exquisite Queens Own Tongue – I stood there staring at the bloody fool for 10 whole minutes until he gave me the decorative monkeys hand I had bloody well asked him for in the first place. Repeat myself, old stick?
Yet, repeat myself I must. The nonsense has gotten too extreme, old trout! While about town this morning I stumbled upon this piece in the Paper of Record and well, I won’t inform you of the fate of the poor croissant I was marmalading at the time. Had I not put this entire issue to rest yesterday?
Far be it from me to disagree with an alumna of my dearest Alma Mater but my my, Senator Bacik, what utter nonsense have you committed to ink here? That Madam would allow such flagrant codswallop to appear on her pages is a shock, especially considering our joint affection for The Iron Lady.
The main thrust of her article is thus; mooooooaaaan.
She writes -
First, without more women TDs, our democracy is not truly representative.
I would beg to differ, Senator! There is no statute excluding women from Politics in this country (no matter how many times I push it with Dear Leader Turnip, damn his backwoodsman forehead). The fact that there are so few lady T.D’s is nothing to do with some grand conspiracy no matter how much discerning gentlemen would wish it so. She continues -
This means that voter choice in Ireland is severely restricted. In the 2007 general election, women constituted only 17 per cent of candidates overall. At least 60 per cent of constituencies had no women candidates from either of the two largest political parties; Fianna Fáil fielded no women candidates in 28 constituencies and Fine Gael had no women standing in 30 constituencies. In five constituencies out of 43, no women candidates stood, even as Independents.
A lot of numbers there, chaps, yet it’s a pity that they are utterly meaningless. Were there enough women of sufficient gumption to demand a place on the ballot then there would not be a problem.
Once again, Ivana, you have to ask yourself WWTILD? Would The Iron Lady sit there whining? No she would not! She would close the mines, literally and figuratively, until she was, not only on the stump, but sitting in Parliament like some glorious predatory bird.
This awful article – a typical lefty exercise in telling people how they should be voting – becomes slightly more understandable when you look at the electoral record of the lovely Senator. She was a repeated failure turtle at the stump in 1997, 2002, 2004 & 2009  and again most recently when Comrade Gimore and chums decided not to go with her in Dublin South East – rightly realizing that she has all the electoral appeal of a brain damaged arsonist.
Senator Bacik pictured adding psychokinesis to her long list of failures.

In fact, the only reason she has a job in politics at all, and not driving around Portobello looking for minor injustices to write to Times Letters Page about, is down to squeaking in to the Seanaid by the very skin of her teeth in 2007 on the 8th count after Norris, De Rossa and Scooby bloody Doo got in before her.
So yes, one can see why introducing a quota of female TD’s would suit her down to the ground. One can see her running around Dublin South shrieking at passers by “It doesn’t matter how rubbish you think I am! The law says I get in either way!”...

Yours etc,
Randall Harper

Bearded men wearing funny clothes

An RTE presenter showed his anti-Catholic bias a couple of days ago in a programme about a prayerful witness held by five Franciscans of the Renewal outside a family planning clinic. The Limerick Leader heads its article Monk's protest angers women. The article is generous enough to observe that Mr Duffy (the presenter) was "audibly angry" and reports a couple of the indignant and furious interventions in the radio phone-in.

Five Franciscan Friars stood outside the Limerick Family Planning clinic on Mallow Street and prayed. That's it really, but in modern Ireland this is enough to "arouse ire", "anger women" and so on. One of the main offences seems to be what children in school call "giving me funny looks" when they can't find anything else with which to to accuse their enemies.

One caller got her chance to protest at the "intimidation" of the Friars praying, how insulted she was and how "completely misguided" they were. Fr Charles tried to respond, starting off  "We live in a beautiful society and..." but he was interrupted by "Are you just going to give me your rhetoric and dogma?" which shows perhaps that it didn't really matter much what he actually had to say.

As so often on such set-up programmes, Fr Charles was facing opposition not only from the hectoring angry callers but also by the presenter who said at one point:
Do you think young women in turmoil would turn to five bearded men wearing funny clothes on the side of a street when they have no indication who they are?
That's really amateurish. Over here, anti-Catholic bias is much more polished. You set up the opposition who get a free ride with no difficult questions and then ask all the difficult questions of the priest/pro-lifer/concerned Christian in a concerned and meaningful voice. That way the ordinary viewer or listener thinks that the programme is "balanced."

The Franciscans of the Renewal chose to go and live in one of the more notorious areas of Limerick which had been in the news because of gang feuds and related shootings. Here is a quotation from one report:
The road where the friars live was in the front line of Moyross’ gang violence; a killing occurred within yards of where we talked – there had been no Christmas celebrations in 2006. Last Christmas (2007) 500 people came to celebrate at the live crib. Visitors from outside Moyross – from outside Limerick – came. A busload of handicapped kids came to join in the festivities. Local people put up Christmas lights, brought in provisions and “borrowed” the live animals.
When it comes to poverty, an ascetical life and commitment to prayer, these men "walk the walk."

They are popular among the ordinary people of the Moyross estate but they have offended the guardians of the dogmas of the new Ireland by quietly praying outside a family planning clinic. The venom directed against them speaks volumes.

Monday, 31 January 2011

New study shows that artificial birth control doesn't reduce abortions, pregnancies or infections among minors

David Paton, professor of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, has co-authored a new study into the free provision of morning-after pills via pharmacies. Dr Paton told today's Telegraph:
“We find that offering the morning-after pill free of charge didn’t have the intended effect of cutting teenage pregnancies but did have the unfortunate side of effect of increasing sexually transmitted infections. By focusing on sexually transmitted infections, it allows us to test whether there is an impact on sexual risk-taking, and that seems to be the implication.”
And as Dr Paton says in the study itself:
"Empirical studies to date suggest that schemes to increase access to [morning-after pills] have failed to result in observable decreases in unwanted pregnancy or abortion rates ... [O]n average, the presence of a pharmacy [morning-after pill] scheme in a local authority is associated with an increase in the rate of STI diagnoses amongst teenagers of about 5%. The equivalent figure for U16s is even larger at 12%."
Time and again we see how the culture of death does young people a grave disservice, telling them that:
  • losing their virginity before marriage is inevitable
  • sex using artificial birth control is consequence-free; and
  • abortion is always there as a back-up.
As a result the UK has stubbornly highest rates of teenage pregnancy, teenage sexually-transmitted infection and teenage abortion.

Dr Paton has provided a reliable basis upon which David Cameron's government can safely throw the Labour government's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy - which emphasised increased morning-after pills access (personally endorsed by Tony Blair*) - into the dustbin of history marked "Failed".

*foreword, Teenage Pregnancy Report, Social Exclusion Unit, 1999.
Divorced People Top Table in Psychiatric Care
Divorced people had the highest rate of hospitalisation in Irish psychiatric units last year, new figures reveal. A census is carried out in March each year by the Health Research Board of people resident in psychiatric units across the country. It found that 2,812 people were resident on the census night and nearly half of the long-stay group were over the age of 65 years.

Men accounted for 53 per cent of all residents, a percentage which has remained almost unchanged over the last 40 years. One third were aged 65 years or over, 12 per cent were aged 25-34 years and six per cent were under 25. When they calculated the rate of hospitalisation among various groups they found that divorced people topped the table. Divorced people had a hospitalisation rate of 115.9 per 100,000, followed by those widowed at 90.9 per 100,000.

Dublin psychiatrist Dr Siobhan Barry denied the figures showed that being divorced is bad for a person’s mental health. “Some folk may be in hospital because they simply don’t have someone at home to provide them with support. The hospitalisation can be to get them over the roughest part,” she said.

“Often being married or in a relationship is protective because there is also support at home. Whether someone has another person to look after them can influence whether they end up in hospital or not.” Irish Independent. January 11.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Jack Murphy TD and Archbishop McQuaid

Many years ago I was asked to write an article about Jack Murphy, the TD for the Unemployed Protest Committee. Not knowing very much about the man other than that he had been elected to Dail Eireann in 1957, but had resigned a year later taken his family to Canada, I asked around among people who were of the same political family as Mr Murphy (republican socialist), but since they belonged to a later generation and knew as little as I did, I drew a blank.

Until, that is, I spoke to a man named Sean Doyle who had, as it transpired, worked for Jack Murphy during his time in Dail Eireann. Sean Doyle was only a young lad at the time but he recalled Jack Murphy with affection and admiration, and he told me that the man could not leave his house in the morning without some poor woman asking him for the price of a loaf or a bottle of milk. And Jack Murphy never refused.

If memory serves me right the weekly wage of a TD at the time was fifteen pounds (those were the days of noblesse oblige) and that wage would only be pocket money to most TDs. But when you were trying to support a family and a multitude of truly deserving neighbours in Ballyfermot, it didn’t go far.

Years later—by one of those quirks that fate sometimes throws up—I found myself working alongside the man himself. He had returned from Canada and was working as a self-employed carpenter in Cadbury’s, and I can say without any hint of exaggeration that Jack Murphy was one of the most highly principled men it has ever been my good fortune to meet. He was quiet and well-read, an autodidact with more learning, I suspect, than most of the TDs who occupied the Dail during his time there.

He told me that his brother had at that time won a house in a Canadian lottery and had prevailed upon him to take his family there. Being the man he was he never complained about the financial pressure he was being put under by his unfortunate neighbours, and I would never have learned of that had it not been for my conversation with Sean Doyle. He did, however, tell me about his meeting with the Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid.

I recalled those conversations when I heard the name of Jack Murphy being mentioned on the Live Line of January 26th. The impression given on that radio programme, it seemed to me, was that John Charles had summoned Jack to Archbishop’s House in Drumcondra to persuade Jack to give up his seat in the Dail. Whether that was mentioned openly or not, that was the impression created in my mind. I can unequivocally say that not even the Pope himself could have expected obedient attendance had he summoned Jack to a meeting in the Vatican. Jack Murphy told me the story of what actually happened.

A meeting had been arranged between a delegation from the Unemployed Protest Committee and the Archbishop (at whose instigation I do not recall), and a delegation had been selected with John Charle. The delegation was to consist of Pronsias MacAonghusa, Seamus Sorohan, a Dublin barrister, and Jack himself. The other two failed to show up and Jack Murphy alone ended up meeting with the Archbishop. He told me that the meeting had been cordial and at no time during the course of it had John Charles attempted to exert pressure on him.

I suspect that, though Jack did not say it, that it was the non-attendance of the other two that may have tipped the balance in favour of his going to Canada.

During the course of the Liveline programme, Anthony Cronin, the writer, phoned in to say that it was his impression that Jack Murphy had been “confused” at the time. The following day a contributor phoned up to give it as his opinion that, having met him in the Dail, he thought that Jack Murphy was “swamped” and “out of his depth”. I can assure Jack’s family that their father would never been either of those things. He was a cool, lucid thinker, modest but certain in his beliefs.

I have long suspected that Joe Duffy has a pronounced animus against the Catholic Church. During the course of the programme he mentioned John Cooney’s biography of the Archbishop. I have read it, and the book is filled with supposition and rumour. I suspected that even now Joe Duffy and John Cooney collaborating on the theory that John Charles McQuaid was responsible for bringing bubonic plague to Ireland.

Peadar Kelly

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Embryo Research Advocate Leads FF Race

 Micheál Martin, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, is believed to be the front-runner in the race to succeed Taoiseach Brian Cowen as leader of the Fianna Fáil Party. As Minister for Health in 2000 it was Martin who set up the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction. This body was stacked with representatives of the IVF industry and produced a hugely unbalanced report which ignored most of the submissions made to the Commission. In 2006, when he was Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin spoke out in favour of permitting research in Ireland involving the destruction of human embryos. He voted in favour of EU funding for embryonic stem cell research and said that he would support such research in Ireland once the constitutional status of unimplanted human embryos was clarified. The new leader of Fianna Fáil will be elected tomorrow afternoon. While the party is widely expected to fare badly in the upcoming general election, the prospect of a leader with Micheál Martin’s record on life issues will likely raise additional concerns for many supporters which they may wish to raise urgently with their local Fianna Fáil TDs.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

'Abortion is not a treatment...' Prof Dundon - Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics at the Royal College of Surgeons

Abortion Is Not Treatment - Professor

Professor Jim Dundon, Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, has intervened in the ongoing debate on abortion in Ireland to remind people that abortion is not a medical treatment. "In what is termed a 'crisis pregnancy' all of us would feel for the mother to be, but apparently some would go so far as to advise termination of the pregnancy, ie, abortion," he writes.

"Abortion is not a treatment. It kills an innocent defenceless human being. Human life begins at conception and ends at natural death." The professor points out that "Any life-threatening disease or disorder arising during a pregnancy can and should be treated." But "Abortion is not a treatment of any disease or disorder."

Prof Dundon deplores those who, "At a time when such a 'mother to be' needs all the help and support she can be given" would abandon her and offer her "only one option – abortion."

"Apart from the aggressive trauma of abortion, which is considerable," he concludes, "she has to face the rest of her life with the knowledge she has destroyed the life of her own baby. The Irish Times. January 14.