Tuesday 17 October 2017

Lise Hand: Fine Gael's rebel Gang of Four won't be whipped into line

Lise Hand

Lise Hand

THE division bells fell silent. The curtains were drawn across the doors into the Dail chamber. The doors were then locked as an expectant hush settled over the packed benches.

After months and months (or, some would argue, after over two decades) of prevarication, foot-dragging, dodging and weaving, roaring and shouting, reasoned argument, scaremongering, spinning, reports and committees, conscience-wrestling and arm-twisting, the Irish parliament was finally acting on the 21-year old Supreme Court ruling and casting its first vote on abortion legislation.

It was finally put-up-or-shut-up time. No more dithering deputies. A tense silence descended over the Fine Gael TDs. For weeks, the abacuses had been out in party HQ, trying to calculate how many of their crew would defy the party whip and vote against the bill.

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