Eire Nua

Anthony McIntyre reflects on the outcome of yesterday's referendum.

Sleeveless, the ink on our arms projecting a range of messages, political and personal, we sauntered  toward the polling station. There was an evening sun which on our return seemed to be symbolically setting on Catholic Ireland. Eire Nua was rising at the intersection where the sun was going down, an Ireland no longer willing to impose the essentially religious diktat that the foetus from the moment of conception, in terms of rights, was on a par with the mother.

For my wife and myself, casting a vote in this referendum was important. Like the images on our arms, it is not just a political act but a personal one. Our daughter is 17 and dating. The notion that, were the situation ever to arise, she should have to take the Liverpool boat is anathema to us: for no reason apart from others like the Iona Institute choosing for themselves that she would have no choice - that she should be the victim of their coercion, persuasion having no role to play. While we were not to know it with certainty at the time of placing our Yes vote in the ballot box, from those very same boxes, a deluge would erupt to sweep away the haughtiness of No.

If we had any lingering doubts the exit polls soon caused them to dissipate. The opinion polls were confounded but this time not as a result of the largely racist and reactionary tidal wave that brought Trump and Brexit over the line. As Miriam Lord put it:

Yes, Yes, Yes. A resounding, emphatic Yes. And what a way to say it – the only way to say it: with conviction and clarity. This massive vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution leaves no doubt. The Irish people have taken ownership of their abortion issue. They have taken it out of the hands of unrepresentative lobby groups and celibate clerics and decided how they want to approach it.

The Yes camp has won and won decisively. Young Ireland has sent old Ireland on a boat, not to Liverpool but to Port Irrelevant. The practitioners of Priestcraft, who once upon a time inflicted with arrogant impunity their superstitions on everybody, regardless of creed, were told they could continue to practice but only on themselves.

In recent days while not over confident, I was hard pressed to find from where a serious challenge to Repeal could emerge. Sporting my Yes badge in work and having brought a Ziplock bag of them in for anybody who wanted them, I soon had no bag and plenty of endorsements. I remained faithful to  my own rule of thumb: when in doubt, look at where the bishops are lined up. They are always on the wrong side of the line, the wrong side of history. Behind all socially conservative initiatives for aeons, they have, since 1986 been knocked out in every gladiatorial contest by the very society they sought to lord it over. Neither threats of hell nor excommunication could carry the day.

As a young republican I grew familiar with the five isms of republicanism: nationalism, socialism, separatism, non-sectarianism and secularism.  These days as an old republican, there is much solace to be drawn from the unmitigated success of one of them - secularism.

Anthony McIntyre blogs @ The Pensive Quill.

Follow Anthony McIntyre on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre      

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

7 comments to ''Eire Nua"

  1. well, im not counting on the 87% of young voters who voted yes to mind me when im weak and defenceless. next on the agenda - euthanasia - sure isnt that a choice too? i mean its my body my choice - hahahahahaha.

    u have swallowed the liberal consumer morning after (mourning after) pill and have aborted urselves - well done ireland. now lets watch u celebrate the culling of the poor and disabled in dublin castle today. the marquees are ready and the food and champagne is on hand. the irish will do in dublin castle today what its former occupiers wouldnt have dared.

    "was it for this the wild geese spread the grey wing on every tide?"

    slan old ireland - u were a beaut. welcome to the 'brave' new world.

  2. While strolling around the fields of Co Meath yesterday evening I met a priest from Dublin told me he was collecting his thoughts about the events and outcome of what was taking place in the 26 counties of Ireland a vote to retain the status quo or a vote to change the country's law on women's health, as I had collected my thoughts on the said subject many years previous I decided to listen to what he had to say, mostly what he said was what I’ve heard many times down the years which is “we are right and you all have to toe the line “ , to listen to a man who believes in a fictional character and who has decided to be celibate and will never marry was nothing new in this land of saints and scholar’s so I let him continue with his opinions.
    Now as I was getting a little fed up listening to his opinions , I decided to make my excuses to continue on my way to which he said how am I to celebrate mass knowing that people in the congregation have had or helped some woman to have an abortion , I paused for a minute and replied , that maybe just maybe some members are looking at you wondering are you a kiddie fiddler, to say he was open mouthed would be an under statement , I left him to collect more thoughts

  3. Today a wonderful beauty was born.

  4. Ah naw, AM, gloating does not become you. We have enough of that from Mary Lou, "proud to be Irish today" or Leo Varadkar "it's a 'revolution" and all the main stream media well choreographed exaggerations. On an on the gloating continued sticking it to the no voters the typical politicians garnered the last ounces of credits and exposure used, employed euphemisms and hyperbole and pretended it's was the people in democratic form that won the day. Ah the system has not got where it is today without learning a few things about manipulating and herding the masses. It was one big propaganda circus, a continuum onslaught of mass hysteria. You didn't hear much about the politcial system that caused the problem in the first place or the decades of cowardly impotence or complicit actors especially the very politicians and democracy that they hold so dearly. As if abortion has been a modern day phenominon. It is hard to listen to all the condescending shite.

    Despite the right result I am depressed today. The system that is at fault is now being exalted to the Nth degree. We the public are the guinea pigs in this charade of democracy and unfortunately the fallacy continues where the system has learnt to harness the enthusiasm of the younger,so called enlightened generation. It seems to have unlocked this potential into it's future.

    One rule of thumb I have is look where the politicians are lined up.

    tiocfaidh ar la

  5. James,

    I don't know what you have been reading but if you can point out where any gloating exists in the above piece, I would like to see it. I was pretty public about not gloating or rubbing the No Voters noses in it. I didn't take to the streets, flag waving or celebrating. It is a measured piece which describes exactly how I felt on hearing the outcome and what it meant.

    If you look at where the politicians are lined up then presumably you voted no.

    I find nothing gloating in Mary Lou saying she is proud to be Irish or Leo V saying it is a revolution. People voted that in terms of rights a woman should not be on a par with a 2 day old zygote/embryo/foetus - whatever they prefer to call it - in the course of doing so dismantle a core tenet of the old order. People will see it as a great day to be Irish or as a revolution, even if we don't phrase it that way. Equally so, the No voters might find it a shameful day to be Irish.

    A simple question - should the referendum have been prohibited on the grounds that you did not find it democratic enough or maybe not democratic at all? How do you think the matter should have been decided?

  6. Enjoyed that first thoughts on hearing the result was that the 'Old Order' was further of them even decreed that those Catholics who voted Yes should go to confession...never learn!

  7. When the Orange order joined the NO side then they were bound to lose. I believe that Ireland has now come of age and become a modern European country. However, we should stop bending the knee to Europe in relation to bank bailouts and a lot of other things. Ireland should join together with the smaller European countries against the bigger ones.


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