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This is straight fear and distrust of women

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Can you imagine if Brigid, not Patrick, were our lead saint? We’d have a lot less crozier certainty and a lot more compassionate doubt.

A clever woman, practical in her ways, she would, of course, have dismissed as risible nonsense that equation 35 years ago between a mature woman and an egg.

Would any man have stood for having a clause inserted into the constitution of a modern country that he was only worth a sperm with potential?

I am sure Brigid would have got a fit of laughing at the idea.

Now, of course, even those who supported that ridiculous, divisive and, let’s face it, insulting amendment, suddenly see it for what it is and want it thrown out. That it has taken this long for the veil to fall is astonishing.

Curiously, it was also Brigid’s month of February, in 1918, when women, after a hard fight – what have women got easily – got the right to vote.

And it is only four years since gender quotas were mooted here, much to the chagrin of many of the same men who are now leading the charge against the Repeal of the Eighth, I have no doubt.

There is some evidence in legend that Patrick feared Brigid and those old stories encapsulate that fear of a clever woman. One legend, as the Irish Independent reminds us this week, even tells of how she made a pregnancy disappear after being appealed to. A strong woman, she oversaw cures for cattle and doubtless she knew how to oversee a garden and manage what grows.

And then, of course, the stern Armagh took over the gentler Kildare and the rest, as they say, is history as far as women were concerned. What followed was a remarkable reign and a reining in of women that is still not over.

Does that fear persist?

Let’s face it: a lot of what is going on here is straight fear and distrust of women.   I bet you some of the same people who are out against the vaccination for young girls to prevent them getting cervical cancer when they grow up are involved in whipping up sanctimonious and pseudo-scientific arguments against the repeal. And they will be stoutly against what follows it, regardless how limited and restrained

It may be worth looking beyond ourselves a bit here. Because there are huge and emotive and even moral arguments being advanced for preserving Ireland’s status as a place which outlaws abortion altogether.

So who is this country being asked to align itself with in this crusade?

Between 1950 and 1985, almost all developed countries liberalized their abortion laws for reasons of human rights and safety of women.

That includes our European partners like France, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries. And Germany. And the UK.

And while we want England’s money, and regret Brexit, we are, of course, far superior to them on moral grounds, aren’t we? And while we salivate over the US  and its money, we would never dream of telling that country to take away their Apples because of what Eve is allowed to get away with, now would we?

So then, who are we like? In fact we are like a lot of the most corrupt countries where there are often ruling elites, huge poverty, media restrictions and where women are very downtrodden.

In Europe we are aligned with Malta. This is where a female journalist was murdered recently, her car blown up.

Our other twins are from Sub-Saharan Africa and then there’s Yemen in the Middle East. And let us not forget Bangladesh. We are right up there with El Salvador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. In fact we are most like Venezuela in our restrictive laws.

In Venezuela, any woman suspected of abortion and who can’t explain a miscarriage is jailed. I was listening to Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent recently and it is frightening what happens to women when the letter of laws like the one we have is pursued - and any country that has laws like ours holds the potential for that kind of pursuit of a woman.

 

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No spare change – no problem, as charity embraces new technology

By Sean Moriarty With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier. For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank […]

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By Sean Moriarty

With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier.

For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank card to make a donation.

The Society’s annual churchgate collection will be held on the weekend of December 11/12 at places of worship in the town and surrounding areas. This year’s collection has be renamed as ‘Giving Sunday’ and makes a return after the pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s fundraiser.

“We are moving towards a cashless society,” explained Killarney Conference President Breda O’Dwyer. “You can tap and swipe your card to make a donation.”

Breda added that they are hoping to have the buckets ready by next week in time for the collection.

She said the local conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society has seen a marked increase in the number of families it is helping mainly caused by the increase in the cost of fuel and home heating products.

The annual St Vincent De Paul Society’s Christmas Jumper Day, in association with Radio Kerry is scheduled for December 10.

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SURVEY: Locals are reducing their social contacts

It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week. An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their […]

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It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week.

An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their level of contacts with people.

Interestingly, 37.10% of people had made no change to their lifestyle, but they could have been extra cautious already.

A tiny minority – just 1.61% – said they increased their social contacts over the last week.

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