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Pro-abortion Labour Party crushed in Irish elections

by | Mar 3, 2016

By Pat Buckley

Editor’s note. Fine Gael, Labour, and Fianna Fail are political parties. “TDs” are members of the Dáil, the lower house of the Irish Parliament.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny

Prime Minister Enda Kenny

It has been said that a week is a long time in politics but it could equally be said following Ireland’s general election on February 26th that even a day is a long time.

The Irish electorate dismissed the Fine Gael–Labour coalition, leaving them struggling to understand what had happened. From their perspective they had delivered economic recovery and stability, and they had implemented social change in the form of legislation for abortion. Not only were they proud of those perceived achievements they were very strident in promising more of the same if they were returned to office.

So what happened?

The national and international media and various think tanks will no doubt come up with an explanation of the economic factors at play but it would be facile to believe that all the answers lie in that sphere.

This analysis is limited to the issues which were important to the pro-life and pro-family community. In order to give a realistic picture it is necessary to briefly look back to the 2011 election.

Fine Gael now hold 50 seats, representing a 33% loss since the last election in 2011 when they won 76 seats. The Labour party now hold 7 seats representing a loss of 80% since the 2011 election when it won 37 seats.

Many of the TDs who lost their seats were those who were some of the loudest proponents of abortion: Deputies such as Anne Ferris, Kathleen Lynch, Alex White and Aodhán Ó Riordáin of the Labour party and James Reilly and Alan Shatter of Fine Gael.

Prior to the 2011 election pro-life groups and individuals, realizing that Fianna Fail which had been seen as being the more pro-life party, was not going to be returned to government, sought assurances that if they voted for Fine Gael that party would not introduce abortion legislation.

When Enda Kenny agreed to this request the pro-life movement decided to switch their votes to Fine Gael. In government however Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Kenny welched on his commitment and proceeded to legislate for abortion. Kenny in his arrogance ignored the massive pro-life demonstrations, instituted a procedure to make it appear that his hands were clean, and refused to allow his parliamentary party to vote in accordance with their consciences, resulting in the resignation of some party members.

The Labour Party in the lead up to the recent general election included the repeal of the pro- life, 8th amendment to the Irish Constitution in their policy manifesto. But in addition, one week before the election, apparently believing the Irish electorate was in a mood for change, the Labour Party held a special press conference during which they unveiled plans for the introduction of a new abortion regime similar to that in the UK.

Just one week later, Labour was decimated in the election, no doubt a week is a long time in politics

The pro-life movement is currently breathing a sigh of relief as the immediate threat of a referendum on 8th amendment seems to be off the agenda. According to Kevin Humphries one of the Labour party’s junior ministers who lost his seat, it could be off the agenda for “five or ten years” because of Labour’s demise. Social change according to Humphries doesn’t happen without Labour in government.

Nevertheless it would be foolish to be complacent because there are pro-abortion deputies in all parties and in the ranks of the independents. Some deputies such as Clare Daly and Ruth Coppinger, are stridently pro abortion and will inevitably do their best to raise the issue in the new Dail. Much will depend on the outcome of negotiations which are about to commence on the formation of the next Government.

Editor’s note. Mr. Buckley directors the work of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Ireland and is a SPUC lobbyist at the UN in New York and Geneva.


Categories: Abortion