Saturday, April 28, 2018

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Sinn Féin To Hold Ard Fheis On Abortion – After The Referendum!

Matt Treacy, writing last month, flags up inconsistencies in Sinn Fein's position on the upcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment. 

Responding to increasing unease within the party over its stance on abortion, the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle met on Monday March 19 and decided to bring its annual Ard Fheis forward from November to June. This will apparently allow members to decide whether Sinn Féin will support legislation on allowing abortion up to 12 weeks, or beyond.

That sounds very democratic except that the referendum will be held in May, when the electorate will in effect also be voting for the legalisation of abortion at least up until 12 weeks, as that is the recommendation of the report approved by the majority of TDs and Senators, including Sinn Féin.

McDonald when questioned made it clear that the party’s position is in support of 12 weeks even though that has not been voted on by the members. So the Ard Fheis is really nothing more than a rubber stamp public relations exercise forced on the leadership who were hoping along with the government that people would be sleep walked into voting for a liberal abortion regime on the basis of simply repealing the 8th amendment.

The motion to be put to the Ard Fheis commits Sinn Féin to supporting the recommendations of the Oireachtas report, and that:

abortion without specific indication should be available through a GP led service in a clinical context as determined by law and licensing practice for a limited gestational period. Sinn Féin members of a legislature shall act in line with the view of the Ard Chomhairle which will be informed by the best available medical advice, when legislating regarding the limited gestational period.

Which is what the Committee approved when it voted for a motion placed by Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell. Which must be the first time a motion to a republican convention was drafted by a Fine Gaeler.

Sinn Féin members on the Committee also voted in favour of a motion, that was defeated, which would have allowed for abortion on the grounds of “socio-economic considerations” pertaining to a woman’s health. Which exposes the pretence that the party is not now, at leadership level, on the most extreme side of the abortion debate.

Speaking in the Dáil on March 20, Cork TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire made it clear that he and other Sinn Féin TDs support the 12 weeks proposal. Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín who is opposed to the repeal of the 8th amendment underlined exactly what is being voted on:

The debate on repeal is currently a debate on abortion on request with no restriction for the first 12 weeks of the child’s existence … Another element is not being discussed. The Minister’s policy document does not seem to mention any gestational limit for certain children, maybe children with life-limiting conditions.

So it is apparent that when people vote in May – before Sinn Féin holds its Ard Fheis ostensibly to decide on how it will vote on subsequent legislation – that a Yes vote is a vote for a 12 week limit, and that abortion may be legislated for in the cases of a child being likely to be born with a disability.

There is much dissimulation on the pro repeal side. Even Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit who support a more radical liberalisation of abortion law than proposed in the report, was anxious that the referendum not be contested on the actual issues:

I do not want in any sense to duck the issue of the 12 weeks and the important discussions that were had at the all-party Oireachtas committee but it is important to remind people that, in the first instance, what we are voting for is repealing the eighth amendment.

That is the Trojan Horse.

The claim that the referendum is simply to repeal the 8th is not exactly true anyway, as the default for legalising abortion on demand has already been agreed by the Oireachtas in passing the Committee report as 12 weeks. That is what will be put into legislation if the referendum votes to repeal the 8th. There is little doubt that TDs and Senators would again approve this, and that Sinn Féin will impose another party whip.

The death of Savita Halappanavar continues to be referred to by the pro abortion side, and was again by McDonald in announcing the Ard Fheis, when in fact the report into the case showed that the 8th amendment had nothing to do with the hospital mismanagement that was the central issue. The hospital failed to detect the development of the sepsis infection that led to her death. Had it done there was no legal impediment to any procedures being taken to save her life.

There will be much more dissimulation and lies as the campaign proceeds. There were even attempts to claim that the huge rally which turned out in support of rejecting the amendment proposal numbered less than 9,000.

Others will continue to utter weasel words in justification of their being marched into the lobbies by the party commissars. Pearse Doherty the Donegal TD was at one time adamantly opposed to abortion, and made that clear at meetings. Now he claims that he is opposed to “unrestricted abortion,” while supporting a 12 weeks limit which if legislated for will introduce just that within that time frame, and potentially beyond that where it concerns unborn children with diagnosed disabilities.

Sinn Féin Ard Fheiseanna are invariably well choreographed and dissent very rarely gets to be heard. So it will be interesting if there any motions opposing the leadership’s pro abortion stance, and whether any such motions if proposed will even get to be heard and voted upon.

In any event, holding such a conference After the referendum is just more smoke and mirrors designed to deflect from what is being voted on, and to try to ensure that Sinn Féin members dutifully turn out to deliver leaflets and put up posters which conflict with their own views on the issues.

The latest victim of the refusal to allow a free vote is Carol Nolan the Offaly TD who was suspended from Sinn Féin on March 21 for voting against the proposal to hold a referendum.

Republican Army is also available @ Amazon. 

Matt Treacy blogs @ Brocaire Books. 

Follow Matt Treacy on Twitter @MattTreacy2


AM said...

This underscores the way in which nothing ever seems to be believed within the party. It is much easier to admire Toibin than Doherty on this issue as much as I wholly disagree with his position.

Anonymous said...

carry on sinn fein movie coming soon. and i know who can play eoin o broin -

Anonymous said...

fair play for bringing up savita. the awful thing is they ALL KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT SAVITA but if they admit that the whole story is false it would be a huge blow and perhaps a fatal one to their campaign TO INTRODUCE ABORTION ON DEMAND HERE. thats why they keep the big lie rolling. its just awful that the entire political and media class are aware of the savita lie, but still go along with it. thats called living under a corrupt regime folks.

Henry JoY said...


as imperfect as the government might be, its hardly so authoritarian to qualify as a regime.

And to the degree that it's corrupt, its corrupt as compared to which other governments or systems of governance?

Apart from your mythical Saordonia can you give us some specific examples of achievable and viable alternatives that we might rightly and collectively aspire to?

AM said...

Matt Treacy Says

Very stupid of them to have imposed whip not only on TDs and Senators, but on councillors and even ordinary members. Seems to be part of their attempt to appeal to the former Labour liberal vote and spiders web of control within unions and NGOs. Mail on Sunday poll shows SF voters split 50:50 on issue, and SBP poll, SF down to 14%.

Doherty being forced to do press calling for Yes vote, having for years railed against any proposal to liberalise abortion, is probably part of humiliation for having had the brief temerity to hint at running for the succession :-)

Anonymous said...

sorry henry joy, but if u cant see that u are/have been living in a WORLD RENOWNED cesspit of mega-corruption, financial bandits, cultural marxist tyranny, intellectual dishonesty, outright traitors, and that the REGIME is now rolling out one of the biggest demographic upheavals in history which will turn our country into a complete SLUM and a fucked up version of birmingham, then im not going to share with u the saordonian plan for Eire.

Anonymous said...

and henry, lets not forget, if u go up against the regime gangsters - they will do everything to destroy u - that includes setting you up for CHILD ABUSE. thats what we are up against. heres the same man -

Steve R said...

How much does the Catholic Church influence the SF leadership? I know Adams had significant dealings with them in Ed Moloney's opus? Is this still the case regarding the hand-wringing over abortion?

Henry JoY said...


in our shared lived reality there will be few who can completely avoid suffering.
Worse than that, when conflicting needs arise, we ought prudently anticipate varying degrees of malevolence from competitors.

There's no avoiding these existential realities.
The best we can do, where possible, is to evolve towards societies and systems that simultaneously afford personal freedoms and curtail rather than encourage excesses.

There's no getting away from the fact that the game of life is a complex and competitive one. Each player must make the best of the hand he or she's dealt. The individual is well advised to manage his or her's limited energies. To survive, never mind thrive, one must accept limitation and act wisely.

Anonymous said...

ok henry, u asked a fair question, so i will share with u a small part of the saordonian plan for the criminal Regime -

and wudnt it be great if the 'c' was an 'r' in the following -

and finally, for regime criminals who try to smear people with child abuse or any kind of sexual allegations -

AM said...

Matt Treacy says:

What hand wringing? Catholic religion obviously has a lot of influence among Sinn Féin voters, as it does among voters of all "nationalist" parties. Influence of the Church as institution is long abated. Many people, and not just religious inclined, have doubts over the abortion issue.

Which would suggest that SF, uniquely of all parties other than ultra left, imposing a "line" is a politically stupid thing to do. Most unlike them to allow virtue signalling to trump electoralism!

Appealing to former Labour liberals is a rather dubious bird in the bush to exchange for prospect of pissing off people who have stuck with SF often against their better judgements over a long period. I would say that this issue has alienated more people than even the abstentionist and GFA votes.

So will be interesting to see what effect if any this will have on bye-election. May be just me but the graffiti on churches seems rather suspiciously timed and unlikely to encourage Catholics to vote for DUP, if that was ostensible aim ....

Henry JoY said...


Yes, Iceland did successfully prosecute its bankers. We in ROI did also prosecute, its just that we weren't successful.

In the interest of accuracy its important to factor in that, unlike Ireland, Iceland wasn't tied to the euro and therefore had greater scope to respond autonomously.

Though your points about loose banking regulation, profiteering and exploitation are well enough made, its also reasonable to draw attention to the reality that when comparing responses to the crashs in Ireland and Iceland we're not contextually comparing like with like.

Anonymous said...

by those standards - nothing can 'contextually' be compared. anyway - thats not that relevant when sugarmans testimonies are considered.

Henry JoY said...


just a few weeks ago Francie Brolly's cub was interviewed on the Late, Late Show. During it he revealed that after a short period at Trinity he realized he'd "have to wise up" and ease back on his strong republican positions. A couple of weeks in Dublin and he quickly adapted to his new environs

The party leader is now Dublin based and she is a woman of some ambition. Haven't you noticed?

Haven't you noticed her airbrushed photos on the posters urging a yes vote? She's well after the two in the bush and hence the personalised strategy with minimalisation of the party logo sans colour.

No need for a messy Ard Fheis at this sensitive time. No, that wouldn't do at all, at all.

AM said...

Matt Treacy says

I was going to refer to the postering. Where I live, in area where SF are by far the strongest party, there are no referendum posters from them. Only republican ones are from Cherish All the Children group, if they have survived the poster cutting squads! Down the road in the heart of ML's constituency there are a few at one roundabout. Some carry her smiling face and could be about anything from not letting your dog defecate on the grass to global warming.
The generic SF ones are as you say practically anonymous. Reason being that local activists know that at best working class SF voters in these parts will be as likely vote No as Yes. A not dissimilar demographic to West Tyrone perhaps, so be interesting to see what if any impact the issue has on the bye-election.
Experience of WP/DL and further back Labour would suggest that balancing the birds in the bush and those in the hand is an insoluble conundrum, especially where the bird in the hand is republican and left on economic issue, and the one in the bush is neither but is liberal in a sort of Hilary Clinton way. Two tend not to get on well together! It is noticeable indeed that the far left which is breathing down SF neck in Dublin is also maintaining a low profile on abortion in areas where they have ambitions of eating into SF vote.

Henry JoY said...


early tallies showing SF vote in Tyrone down 5% and that of SDLP up 7%. (Begley elected 46%)
I don't believe the Repeal The 8th stance taken by the party will do them as much harm overall as you seem to suggest. New leader and a new progressive image has the longer term possibility of enticing sizely numbers in their direction.

They will of course be some fall-off in their traditional heartland vote but this, based on observed impacts of passed shifts, will be minimal. As many of us know from bitter experience, they've wrestled bigger internal dissent on policy than this and succeeded. They have a record of success in herding the vast majority of supporters along the leadership's favoured path; merrily onward towards their final destination of yet another amorphous, catch-all, centrist Irish political party of government.

DaithiD said...

But HJ, the number (and quality) of Judas goats at their disposal is considerably less than at the times of their most effective herd steering.

AM said...

Matt Treacy says

Despite the "stunning victory" being proclaimed, it was by far from being anything of the kind. Turnout was down, SF % was down, and absolute number of SF votes was lowest in over 20 years, since first post GFA Westminster election. 26% of those who voted for McElduff stayed at home despite the usual hour of victory canvas.