For months the wheels have been slowly turning in preparation for the abortion referendum and soon the campaign will kick off fully. It will likely bear some similarities with the Marriage Equality referendum of 2015, so I think it’s crucial to study the lessons of the last referendum if we want to repeat its success in the next one. Both issues are heavily influenced by the position of the Catholic Church and the No side will again be led by Catholic groups like the Iona Institute. The vote will be split on similar lines, with older and rural people more likely to vote No. Here are some lessons I learned from canvassing for a Yes vote that I think are applicable to the next referendum. Continue reading “Lessons from the Marriage Referendum for the Abortion Referendum”
On the 22nd of May the people of Ireland will decide whether or not we will grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples. (Grá is the Irish word for love and rhymes with law, hence the slogan). It’s hard to think of a more straightforward issue than this. If two people love each other, they should be allowed to marry each other. What right does anyone else have to prevent them from expressing their love? It doesn’t do any harm or affect the rest of society in any way at all. It’s simply a matter of equality, giving gay and lesbian couples the same rights as everyone else. Continue reading “Make Grá The Law”
Every time you open a newspaper or turn on the news, the headlines are dominated by Ukraine. It is certainly a very important issue but also a very confusing one. Like most people you probably don’t quite understand what it is about. You have probably figured out that it involves a lot of protests, something to do with the President, Europe might be involved and now the Russians are intervening. But it probably seems like a great muddle of similar names, unfamiliar geography and complicated geo-political affairs. If you’re confused by all of this, don’t worry, everyone (including the Ukrainians) probably are, but hopefully this post will make things a bit clearer. Continue reading “What Is Going On In Ukraine? An Explanation For the Confused”
The Seanad referendum is drawing near and the campaigns are in full swing. What is interesting is how well mobilised the No side is and the arguments they are using. Rather than a rational debate based on political realities, the No side has resorted to hysteria and fantasy. Even the name of the main opposition group, Democracy Matters, implies that a democratically elected government putting the decision before a vote of the people is somehow engaging in dictatorial actions. The vote is being ridiculously described as a power grab while reform is being held as a panacea that no one seems to be able to describe. Continue reading “Democracy Matters – But The Seanad Does Not”
As it hardly needs to be said, the Irish Senate, the Seanad, is a useless institution. It is a mockery of democracy that is devoid of power, purpose and credibility. It is a complete shambles and populated mainly by failed politicians. It has almost no supporters to speak of and the government is planning to hold a referendum to abolish it. Many however argue that what it needs is drastic reform not abolition and that an improved Seanad can play a valuable role in Irish politics. However, the pace of reform in Ireland is painfully slow and the government has little incentive to create a challenge to its power. Reform is not an option; we must abolish this useless institution. Continue reading “Why We Should Abolish The Seanad”
The Fiscal Treaty promises stability, growth and to prevent future recessions. It will not provide any of this. It completely misses the point and addresses issues irrelevant to the cause of and solution to, the recession. It will lead to future austerity, lower growth, higher unemployment and more poverty. Continue reading “Why You Should Vote NO To The Fiscal Treaty”
A great article that really explains the flaws of the Fiscal Treaty and why we should vote No.