Saturday, March 10, 2018

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Sinn Féin Blunders On Repeal Of 8th

Matt Treacy thinks Sinn Fein made a faux pas in its handling of the 8th Amendment issue. 

Sinn Féin seldom make too many tactical errors. Its leadership, not necessarily the one you see on the media, usually comes up with a formula to ensure that all eyes are kept on the prize of power, and all that goes with it. Dissenters are pulled into line or isolated.

Which begs the question whether their decision to take a hard line on the issue of the Repeal of the 8th amendment may have been a significant blunder. Unlike Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who have allowed a free vote in the Oireachtas, Sinn Féin elected representatives, including TDs Peadar Tóibín and Carol Nolan will face expulsion if they vote against the .party line in the Dáil.

Other prominent Sinn Féin elected representatives, members and supporters have also indicated their opposition. Former Derry MLA and author of the famous ballad in support of the republican prisoners on the H Block blanket protest Francie Brolly recently resigned from Sinn Féin over its support for abortion. Will members who take a similar stance, or who are actively involved in campaigning against be expected to speak in favour of, or to canvass for, abortion? Will they too face sanctions?

The key issue in all of this relates to the gestation limitations that will be placed on abortion. The Oireachtas Committee voted in favour of legalising abortion up to 12 weeks, but the Sinn Féin members abstained on the motion proposing this, which was carried. That was included in the report which they voted in favour of, so the abstention meant nothing.

Jonathan O’Brien, who once purported to be opposed to abortion, proposed an amendment to one motion that effectively supports the decriminalisation of abortion where it was procured “regardless of circumstances,” and that this be legislated for. As Senator Mullen pointed out the motion as amended allows for “no gestation limit.” O’Brien speaking on the report in the Dáil on January 18 declared that he was in favour of allowing abortion up to 12 weeks.

So despite the abstention for internal and media consumption, the Sinn Féin committee members had voted for 12 weeks before any Ard Fheis that was supposed to debate and decide on that. O’Brien had proceeded from being opposed to abortion to not only supporting the 12 weeks provision but tabling an amendment that would appear to allow for legislation to decriminalise abortion “regardless of circumstances.”

I know from my time in Leinster House that other TDs were opposed to abortion. All of them who were there when I was working in the place, with the exception of Peadar Tóibín, are now committed not only to supporting repeal of the 8th, but also in the light of Sinn Féin’s support for the Committee report, to abortion up to 12 weeks.

Perhaps some of them have been persuaded to change their minds through open debate, which is no shame, if honestly done. It would certainly be preferable to anyone voting for something they claimed to be opposed to because the “party” told them, under threat, to do so.

I am also reminded of one Senator who now professes to be “pro-choice” who attempted to have a staff member in his office disciplined, effectively wanting her to be sacked, because she had written a piece for a journal in a personal capacity expressing her support for abortion, as she is entitled to do. Such hypocritical go by the wall sneakiness does not surprise me, but it is worth recalling.

It is apparent now; from the Committee report, the comments on it by Varadkar and other leading members of every party in the Dáil, and the statement made by Simon Harris when introducing the referendum bill, that legislation will be framed to allow for abortion up to 12 weeks, should the referendum carry.

Sinn Féin had promised to hold a special Ard Fheis prior to the referendum to allow the membership to debate the 12 weeks limit, but now that is impossible for “logistical reasons.” Instead they are going to hold such a conference after the referendum. It will be all academic by then, as they have clearly made up their minds and if the referendum is passed they will issue another diktat, under threat of disciplinary action, in support of legislation setting gestation limits.

In the debate on the wording of the Bill on March 9, McDonald again welcomed the fact that the referendum would be held on the single issue of repeal rather than the exact circumstances under which it would be permitted. While she referred to the “debate” within the party as though it were something that might change her mind, O Broin let the cat out of the bag by saying that he and others would be persuading the delegates to an Ard Fheis to support a 12 week term.

Like the other parties in the Dáil, and this was clearly evident during the Committee hearings, Sinn Féin wants the referendum to be on the single issue of removing the 8th amendment because its leadership is afraid of what might happen if the actual terms under which abortion will be made available becomes part of the debate.

One suspects that the “logistical reasons” for not holding the Ard Fheis have to do similar motivations along with the evidence of increasing unease within the republican support base for such a proposal. Sinn Féin’s slump to 14% in a recent opinion poll despite the much heralded change of front stage leadership is probably not unrelated to that.

Of course they could have avoided all of that by allowing a free vote, but that is not in the nature of the beast. Dissent cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. No-one I have known in over 30 vears ever joined the republican movement because of their position on abortion.

Allowing a free vote, in reflection of the differences among republicans would also conflict with the self-perception of the ideological liberals who make up the public face of Sinn Féin and the vast majority of staffers. They are more concerned with impressing their mirror images in the other parties and among the NGO sector and media, than allowing democratic debate on the issue within Sinn Féin itself.

From a political perspective the enthusiastic support for abortion is also a part of trying to colonise what used to be the Labour constituency, especially in Dublin where the NGOs and media are still top heavy with people whose image of the Shinners was once of some dreadful Ralph C. Nesbitt character in a Celtic or Dublin jersey.

Now the Care Bears see Sinn Féin as being like them. They even get, like Jonathan Powell setting out how the IRA could be gotten rid of through the voice of Gerry Adams, to write key policies for them. As for the less exalted members and voters, they have never really had to worry about them. They will just go along with it all, or even be lied barefacedly to as did one prominent northern member who spoke trenchantly in favour of abortion at meetings in Dublin and then went home to tell republicans in his own area that there was no way he would support abortion. Voting for it was to be taken no more seriously than when he had told the same people that the IRA would never disband, that there would be no decommissioning, that Sinn Féin would never enter Stormont, and so on.

Had they had the cop on to allow a free vote Sinn Féin would have been able for another while to ride several horses at the one time, as they have successfully done – particularly on their attitudes to “austerity” north and south – in the recent past. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil realise that there is no party line on abortion; and that attempting to impose one would only lead to needless internal tensions.

Have Sinn Féin misjudged this one?

Matt Treacy’s book A Tunnel to the Moon: The End of the Irish Republican Army is also available @ Amazon. 

Matt Treacy blogs @ Brocaire Books. 

Follow Matt Treacy on Twitter @MattTreacy2


Anonymous said...

excellent article, agree with all this, also, the soros shilling is being taken by 'politicians' in all parties, sf included. sf are the scariest party in ireland now and that is saying something.

heres my old friend Big Ian. he was ahead of his time, and i for one promise to do what he set out to do in this photo. rip big ian, we miss you.

also, will that bullying 200decibel-loudmouth sycophantic fatarse witch mlmd now be benefiting from bobby sands writings? did i read here before that whoever is leader of sf benefits from the trust?

"The political process has created a class of professional liars and unfortunately it contains many republicans." Brendan Hughes, (see photo below)

Barry Gilheany said...

In any liberal democracy, MPs are always allowed (or should be allowed) to exercise their right to conscientious objection on abortion legislation. Removing the Eighth Amendment from the Irish Constitution is a qualitatively different matter from the substance of abortion legislation to be put to the Oireachtas a vote to remove the Eight Amendment does not have to be a mandate for permissive abortion legislation (and I speak as someone who agrees with availability to elective abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy). The legality of abortion and other moral matters is for parliaments to decide and should not reside in the Constitution.

My question for "Republicans" who support the retention of Article 40.3.3 is this: how do you square being "pro-life" in relation to abortion with your support for an "armed struggle" which caused the violent deaths of 2,000 plus people in Northern Ireland.

Grouch, oyur obsession with Soros and Muslim immigration to Ireland suggests that your opposition to the legalisation of abortion is based on racist and Islamaphobic fears of the Iirsh race by outbred by non-Christian, non-European "others" just as opposition to abortion and contraception in mid 19th century was motivated to preserve the purity of the WASP race from the hordes of Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Italy and other Papist redoubts in Europe.

wolfe tone said...

FFS gilheaney as that the best you can do : republicans 'being pro life and supporting armed struggle'? Careful you are starting to sound like a cleric with that crap. Perhaps those said republicans can argue it as for 'the greater good' as well? Btw, gilheaney it hasn't gone unnoticed that you often tell the teacher(AM) when you feel you have been insulted but when you dish it out its acceptable. So in saying that I will ask just 1 thing, what has the irish constitution got to do with you anyway? Surely the British constitution is more your thing? Just saying.

Anonymous said...

barry - go tell that to amnesty international, open border society (which he has funded to the tune of 18 billion, yes thats 18 billion barry,) and sinn feins own mep lynn boylan. ur head is up your arse on soros barry, but hey - thats exactly where he likes all ur heads to be. do ur research if u want, theres acres of stuff out there on him and his foundations. he admits to hating independent nations. and whats armed struggle got to do with anything. stop being a complete plonker baz.

Barry Gilheany said...

Wolfe Tone

I am the author of a PhD thesis entitled "Post Eighth Amendment Irish Politics" which involved an in-depth study of the aspects of the Irish Constitution germane to the issues of abortion and the gender order in the Republic of Ireland.

I also think it perfectly acceptable to call out the hypocrisy of those who are so concerned with the sanctity of unborn life to the extent that they would force a pregnant woman to give birth to the progeny or rape or incest but have no problem with the atrocities committed in the failed pursuit of the "armed atruggle" and on defenceless men, women and children and hosptial and aid workers in Aleppo and Gouta by a murderous dictatorship and its Russian superpower ally From your Facebook profile I believe both positions apply to you.

The possible fusion of anti-choice activity with the antisemitic and antiimmigrant and pro-Putin sentiment that you and Grouch articulate with dissident "Republicanism" represent a nascent form of fascism in Ireland.

wolfe tone said...

Gilheaney, you sound more like the MOD by the day. By highlighting others 'hypocrisy' you are showing your blatant hypocrisy. A liar is all you are. I bet when you are running around Blighty the conversation would go something like this: "oi padday, ah you ah fookeen ay oar ay tewowist? no not me mate, I come from Northern Ireland and that is part of Great Britain and I hate the IRA and I like the royal family and I think her majesty has led our country brilliantly. I love the English, I even love their paddy jokes; don't find them offensive at all." And I bet you feel relieved and loved when the English gobshite declares " ere lawds, this paddee is awright is he".
Btw I couldn't give a rats arse about your so called thesis(no laughing at the back) other than to always beware that there's a difference between people laughing with you as opposed to laughing at you.

Barry Gilheany said...

Wolfe Tone

I wonder what all this bile really conceals as you give no indication as to your identity and place of residence which it is your right to privacy not to do so. But there is one word to describe someone who skulks behind a keyboard and spew out the sort of puerile abuse you do A COWARD. Btw, i do not need to run to teacher, I am perfectly capable of fronting up pathetic losers like yourself; i have done it with racists at football matches, with pub landlords use the outlawed (NB) epithet "Paki" and who display golliwog images. Oh and I nearly forgot i have faced down baying mobs of so-called "Republicans" at Queen's University Student Union debates and "pro-lifers" as well. I have no problem with English people precisely because i am not English. I wonder what sort of conflicted and confused identity lies behind this moniker; this caricature bigot who lacks a basic ability to string meaningful sentences together never mind make reasoned, evidence based argumebts. VOTE REPEAL AND UP THE REPUBLIC!

wolfe tone said...

Gilheaney lmfao! Again your response has shown I have cut real close to the bone lol. I have also revealed again that you a liar I.e you have regularly complained to AM that you have been insulted on this forum but you are still willing to label folk who disagree with you as fascist,bigot etc etc? I don't know what special school you went to but that indeed is insulting to be labelled such.
Anyways I sincerely hope you are not imparting your wisdom upon the vulnerable in our society?(it would certainly explain the rising cases of suicide and self harm these days) I would be astonished if your were being paid to advise young people as that would be blatant exploitation and fraudulent and you should be ashamed of yourself. Btw there's no conflict or confusion here mo chara, none whatsoever. Always remember it's better people laugh with you than at you. Just saying.

AM said...

Wolfe Tone,

best to deal with the man's arguments rather than continue with insults. If you think he is wrong try calling him out on it rather than calling him names.

wolfe tone said...

AM, I will fight fire with fire thank you very much I.e if he can give it he better well take it. That's the real world. Alas I best refrain from responding to this idiot as a feel I am one or two words away from pushing the wingnut over the edge.

Barry Gilheany said...


Have you received my article on Irish abortion law which I tried to send through Facebook. What is the email address for TPQ in case you didn't?

Wolfe Tone

I have on this occasion no intention of rising to your insults apart from pointing out that as a qualified counsellor I have worked (for free) with young people and know that I have saved one adolescent with Asperger Syndrome from his permanent exclusion from school as well as helping bereaved elderly people come to terms with their grief (again for free). I know that I can dish out stick as readily as I can take it but I like to think that I can use evidence based arguments.

Don't worry, I am not rushing to my libel lawyers. But there is a line in your banter which you have not yet crossed. Mo chara, I hope you can stay on the right side of it.

Seamus Darcy said...

Old Grouch hit the nail on the head again. Sad to see the squabbling over nothing. Worrying to see Gilheany gnawing at the Antifa/cultural marxist/polcorrect bone. Even more worrying to see We Ourselves becoming less nationalist and more socialist-their job is to create good relations with the DUP because if we dont unite ALL THE IRISH NOW we are going continue to be used as the cesspit of Europe by the Banker/Commie/Islamist elite.If you cant see whats coming down the tracks folks you need to take the Red Pill and get your head out of your armpit. Veronica's handlers have been around a long time and have never given a tuppenny farthing for ANYTHING Gaelic. They have done everything to undermine Irish culture and race for centuries. Just because they gave us The Fraud State doesnt mean they ever went away.Sit down with The Sunday Independent any weekend-its all right there before your nose.

AM said...

Wolfe Tone,

you are free to fight fire with fire but your opponent's argument is streets ahead because you waste time calling him names rather than deconstructing his argument. Fire at least should be effective.

AM said...


nothing through on FB.

Send an email address to the comments section. It will not be published but I will email you an address you can send the peice to.

Anonymous said...

seamus, just keep speaking the truth and hit them with facts. there is an entire generation out there now who thinks politics is all about toilets for trannies and welcoming mass immigration and killing the unborn - actually voting for it - can u imagine that - this is what democracy is now - walking into a polling booth and ticking a box that could lead to the destruction through barbaric mutilation of 100s of thousands of innocent children. no other country has voted in abortion - we will be disgraced before the world seamus if we VOTE this in, and disgraced forever. paddys day my hole, a nation of little sick fucks who VOTED to kill their unborn children if this repeal goes through. they have been conditioned that way and its our job to wake them up. social engineering to the hilt going on now from cradle thru school thru uni and in workplace too. theyre ramping everything up full tilt whilst people are deliberately distracted with - snow/dwts/paddys day/rugby or whatever. they wil get a rude awakening soon and will be weeping when they realise things are changed UTTERLY. this is a long hard fight - in fact this is our 1916, but will probably go on 20 years. im taking a break til after easter. keep well mo chara.

AM said...

It has been sent twice to you now Barry