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Make Our National Maternity Hospital Public
Saturday 8 December 2018
2 PM at Spire of Dublin

Come Out, Come Out on 8 December

D.R.O’Connor Lysaght

2 December 2018

The Government has changed tack. After three referenda in which it was able to pose as leading the liberal forces to triumphal victories, it is rediscovering the virtues of clerical conservatism. It appears that Leo the cowardly lion has examined his calculator and decided that his party has won all it can from the liberal agenda, that half those who voted for that agenda in the referenda are unlikely to vote Fine Gael even with clothes pegs on their noses and that, accordingly it is time to back pedal to trawl the neoconservative pool being fished by many Fianna Fail deputies and by Peadar Toibin.

The retreat is being mounted in the Department of Health. Only last week, Varadkar’s young handpicked Minister, Simon Harris, refused to agree to the repeal of the law by which a woman can be sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for taking the morning after pill The law’s initiator claims that it was designed to be draconian as an Irish solution to an Irish problem (the Constitution’s 8th Amendment) by making the law so obnoxious that it could never be enforced. However, since then, the Northern Irish Attorney General has prosecuted a woman under an identical law, winning a case in which the accused was saved from the ultimate penalty only by the relatively intelligent leniency of the presiding judge. Such leniency cannot be guaranteed.

This joins a scandal of several months. A new National Maternity Hospital is being planned. So far, so good. Not so good is that it is planned that, when completed, it will be given to the ownership of the Sisters of Mercy, that very wonderful order that used to run the prisons known as the Magdalen Laundries. For younger readers, these bastilles were where women were sent for disturbing the peace as defined by society directed by the Catholic Church. These appalling crimes included any sort of sexual activity out of the ordinary down to the appalling felony of being raped. As these facts became known, the sisters refused to pay compensation to their victims, pleading that they were merely administering these institutions on behalf of the state. The said state did not remark that this still made them accessories to the act. Rather it intends to award them the valuable property of the Maternity Hospital, in which they will be able to enforce Catholic morality in abortion and contraception without interference.

To protest and hopefully stop this there will be a march on Saturday, 8 December. All SD website readers should join. Despite recent victories, the struggle has still to be won to achieve a secular Ireland and, yes, a Workers’ Republic.

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