Nobody expects objectivity from The Irish Times when it comes to the abortion issue, or indeed anything that might involve any reference to the Catholic Church, but this embarrassing schoolgirl love letter to the Taoiseach, from Miriam Lord, is especially cringe-inducing.
The political nerds went scurrying for their history books when the Taoiseach uttered a phrase destined for the history books of the future.
“I am proud to stand here as a public representative, as a Taoiseach who happens to be a Catholic, but not a Catholic Taoiseach,” he told the Dáil, invoking the shades of devout leaders past who pledged allegiance to faith first and country second.
On an otherwise uneventful Wednesday morning in Leinster House, Kenny, without any fuss, laid down a milestone in Irish political history.
Furthermore, a Taoiseach stood in the Dáil chamber and called out the despicable behaviour of a small section of Irish society that deems it acceptable to threaten and intimidate elected representatives who do not cleave to their world view.
I wonder what form of threatening and intimidation Miriam Lord is talking about? Threatening to use the vote to punish politicians who cast their vote against the right to life? Isn't that just democracy?
In his speech, the Taoiseach referred to the supposed intimidation tactics that are in use:
“I am now being branded by personnel around the country as being a murderer; that I’m going to have on my soul the death of 20 million babies. I am getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood, telephone calls all over the system, and it’s not confined to me . . .”
One has to wonder why the Taoiseach feels the abortion issue should be the only one in which powerful feelings are not expressed and heated rhetoric used. I often see Socialist Workers Party posters that complain about a "war on the poor". Is that equivalent to accusing Mr. Kenny of being a war criminal?
When the Savita Halapannavar tragedy occurred, there were many demonstrations which blamed Irish abortion laws for the death of the unfortunate woman. Just look at this article from the Guardian, and the accompanying picture of a woman holding a placard which reads: "Her blood is on your hands". What's the difference? (By the way, I saw no such placards at Pro-Life rallies.)
I'm interested, too, in the litany of harassment of which Mr. Kenny complains. "I'm getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood..." Is sending somebody a medal or a scapular an objectionable act? Is making a telephone call to an elected representative an act of intolerable aggression? If Mr. Kenny had to fill out his list with such feeble examples, my suspicion is that this supposed campaign of intimidation is greatly exaggerated.