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This is straight fear and distrust of women




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.




Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]




The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.


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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]




The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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