The Republic of Ireland is quite unusual in the context of its situation in North-Western Europe. Whilst the United Kingdom, Germany, the Scandinavian countries and the Low countries have descended into liberal dystopia, permissively waving through sweeping liberalisations of culture and society, Ireland has been somewhat late to the party, as the expression goes. This can be largely attributed to its Catholic Faith, which has seen the country embrace atheism with much less ferocity than the formerly protestant nations in its geographic vicinity. This is also cited for Ireland’s relatively late adoption of certain cultural reforms, such as no-fault divorce and homosexual marriage, which were otherwise accepted as a matter of course by her neighbours. On Friday 25th May, the Irish people will vote in a referendum to either repeal or maintain the 8th amendment to their constitution, which ostensibly equates the life of a woman with that of her unborn child, but which in practise prevents women from aborting their pregnancies. This isn’t the first time Ireland has had this debate, but what is unprecedented is that the Irish public is expected, for the first time, to vote in favour of repealing this amendment. That the Irish public are late to approve such laws is, again, down to their Catholic Faith, which has always taught its disciples to strongly oppose abortion on the principle of sanctity of life, that is, that all life is sacred, including that of an unborn child.
Media analysts and commentators have continuously referred to ‘Ireland’s transformation over the past 40 years’, mostly, it has to be said, in a celebratory context. This refers to the nation’s aforementioned sluggish approach to liberalising reforms. Yet for many Irish people, this is not a cause for celebration. Rather, it demonstrates the decline of Ireland’s fundamental character; its traditional values that constitute the fundamental nature of the Irish nation. For this debate is about so much more than ‘a woman’s right to choose’. Should the repeal be approved this Friday, as everyone expects that it will be, it will signify the completion of Ireland’s liberalisation and its downgrading to the status of rootless economic zone, in a league with its Northern European neighbours. Regardless of one’s opinions on Catholicism, the Church’s role in public life or the merits (or otherwise) of a woman’s right to abort her pregnancy, the systematic dismantling of Ireland’s character should be something we all, as Europeans, should lament.
The degradation began in the late 1980s, when the European Court of Justice ruled (Norris vs Ireland) that Ireland’s law criminalising homosexual activity violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Although this judgement did not compel the Irish state to alter this law, it sparked a debate in the country on this issue. This culminated in then-President Mary Robinson, herself a gay rights activist and attorney for David Norris in his 1988 case against the Irish government, signing into law a bill that decriminalised homosexual behaviour with an equalised age of consent, in the early 1990s. This was really something of a watershed moment for the Irish Republic, for it marked the beginning of the end for the traditionalist state. Interestingly, a referendum was not held on this issue, despite the fact that Ireland’s state has been fairly consistent, to its credit, in offering referenda for its citizens to decide issues of national cultural significance such as this one. Given the Catholic opposition to same-sex relationships, or rather the opposition as it was at that time, this was quite an extraordinary step for a Catholic nation to take. Interestingly, all major political parties at that time were in favour of decriminalisation, whilst there was no enthusiasm for such measures amongst the general populous – perhaps why a referendum was not offered. Such measures, as we’ve come to realise in Western Europe, are pernicious to civilised societies for they begin a journey down the slippery slope of degeneracy, culminating in the frequent “gay pride” events which are, in reality, mass public displays of indecency and vulgarity. Ireland has since moved to legalise civil partnerships and same-sex marriage, which amount to an assault on the traditional family that nation once held so dear.
The next stage in Ireland’s liberalisation process was the legalisation of no-fault divorce. Divorce was prohibited under the 1937 constitution, reflecting the nation’s deeply held views on the sanctity of marriage as holy sacrament, not just a legal recognition of marital union. In 1986, the Irish public had voted, by way of referendum, against repealing the constitutional ban on divorce, with a commanding majority of 63.48%. Yet as we’ve seen in other European issues, the establishment simply waited until it had propagandised another generation before asking the same question in the hopes of attaining a different answer. In 1995, the issue was put to the country and the Irish people voted 50.28% to 49.72% in favour of removing the constitutional ban on divorce. This represented a significant – some may even say, unbelievable – shift in public opinion over a very short space of time, which is demonstrable of the state bending public opinion to its will, rather than the people mobilising the power of the state to serve them – the latter, of course, is the way it should be. It also represented another assault on the traditional family; as we have seen in other Western European states, on-demand divorce is extremely harmful to family life, particularly when children are involved. It discourages any effort in marriage and encourages a nihilistic approach to relationships. The repeal came into force in 1997, and divorce is now permitted in Ireland despite strong historical opposition.
Finally, we arrive at the abortion debate. Abortion is a challenging issue, particularly for the irreligious as it becomes debased by pernickety contrarians attempting to establish the point at which life begins. For Christians and, for Catholics in particular, the argument is rather more clear cut; life is sacred and, therefore, must be protected. God alone has the power to give and take human life. This was reflected by Ireland’s Catholic electorate when, in a 1983 referendum, 66.9% voted in favour of amending the constitution to prohibit abortion. Therefore, with an electorate that is still 83% Catholic, it’s somewhat baffling that the polls predict a victory for the pro-abortion campaign! What’s even more remarkable is that, polls suggest, the “yes” (repeal the ban) campaign has a 5-point lead amongst Catholic voters. This time around, with greater access to information, we begin to see the forces at play behind this shift in public opinion. Most notably, George Soros has been an influential figure, reportedly attempting every which way to pump money into the campaign to amend the constitution – this despite a ban on non-Irish nationals residing in a foreign country seeking to donate money to Irish political campaigns. We know that at least $137,000.00 of Soros-money was paid to one “pro-choice” campaign, which was reportedly ordered to be returned when discovered by the Standards in Public Office Commission. The media is an equally important player, with most outlets firmly in the pro-abortion camp. The same can be said for the entire Irish political class, as well as their big-business donors. Thus again, we see the tail wagging the dog, as it were.
It must be stated that this campaign is about so much more than abortion. This proposed constitutional amendment will be the culmination of a vigorous, coordinated attempt at the dismantling of traditional Irish society. It’s the last bastion of Irish Catholicism that remains in public life, and once removed the sea of liberalism will be unrelenting. Whether one is opposed to abortion or not is, at this point, immaterial. Abortion exists in Ireland already, in any case, for women regularly take the short and inexpensive trip to the British mainland where the state generously pays for them to have abortion on demand. The real question in play here is whether or not the last element of Irish law that protects traditional Catholic Irish values should be removed, or not.
Come Saturday morning, we’ll more likely than not see that the pro-abortion campaign has secured its victory, with the help of international finance politics, and the last bastion of Irish traditionalism will be duly removed. The liberal commentariat will undoubtedly frame this as a victory for sexual liberation against oppressive religiosity, whilst the political class will proclaim that Ireland has finally caught up with the times. Whatever side of the argument you’re on, all traditionalists should prepare to lament this sad day for traditional values and yet another crushing defeat to the liberal onslaught.