Paraphrasing Lord Hartley Shawcross: “The Dáil is sovereign; it can make any laws. It could ordain that all blue-eyed babies should be destroyed at birth, and because the Dáil so declared it, it would be legal.” More or less, setting aside the small complication of a Supreme Court appointed by the same sovereign and a Head of State who owes his position to the manipulation of the Fourth Estate. We will have legal abortion in Ireland in a matter of weeks.
Legal, but utterly immoral. It is not enough that Parliament “reflect” society. Parliament’s duty is seek justice and legislate according to the principles of that justice and right reason. In the Irish parliament’s debate on abortion – and debate was all it was, a debate without any determining effect – one member spoke of Ireland’s old law prohibiting the destruction of children awaiting birth as being “out of kilter with society”. Well, that parliament has now changed this and by an abuse of the spirit and letter of its Constitution has legalized the snuffing out of those lives.
Abuse? Yes. The party system, governed by a whip regime, the exercise of which in this case proved to be nothing short of totalitarian, has lead to this immoral law being passed and in the process of so doing has denied the representatives of the people their fundamental right of personal political judgement and freedom of conscience.
But what was more frightening about the entire process which has led to the passing of this bad law was the abuse of language. Yesterday’s statement from the Pro Life Campaign outlines some of it – the questions which the Parties-in-Power refused to answer or answered with blatant untruths. But it went much farther that this. It was indeed surreal. It reminded one of Alice in Wonderland.
‘“When I use a word,” said Humpty-Dumpty “it means just what I intended it to mean, and neither more nor less.”
“But,” said Alice, “the question is whether you can make a word mean different things.”
“Not so,” said Humpty-Dumpty,” the question is which is to be the master. That’s all”.’
Taoiseach Enda Kenny kept telling the Irish people that he was not changing Irish law, that he was not introducing abortion to Ireland, etc, etc. Yet the international Press, the pro-abortion lobbies across the world were rejoicing at what he was trying to do and are celebrating today. They grasped the truth of all this. Is he stupid? does he think the Irish people are stupid? Or is he Humpty Dumpty?
But Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. Mr. Kenny’s natural political life is coming to an end. Most people expect that he will not contest another general election. Some regret that because they would like to see him fall like Humpty Dumpty.
“My end is my beginning”, Mary Queen of Scots, is reported to have said before she went to the block. Ex-Minister Lucinda Creighton will not go to the block but had she lived in the age of Mary she might have. Nevertheless, very many Irish people hope that Queen Mary’s words will apply to her – that Kenny’s taking of her political life will be just the beginning of a political life free from a system as corrupt as that which he sought to impose on her. She and the four party colleagues who broke from the straitjacket their leader tried to force them into – along with the senators of the party who will do the same over the next few hours – stand tall among the sad members of that party who professed themselves to be pro-life and then voted for abortion.
Ireland needs a new politics. Lucinda Creighton and her honourable colleagues offer a new hope that the disenfranchised Irish might get this.