Friday 20 January 2017

Some timely reminders of just how backward and hypocritical we were

Published 31/12/2013 | 02:30

Des O’Malley with Charles Haughey. He has recalled being protected by Dail ushers to walk from the Dail members’ restaurant to the plinth
Des O’Malley with Charles Haughey. He has recalled being protected by Dail ushers to walk from the Dail members’ restaurant to the plinth

I have to admit it's a tad depressing when state papers released after 30 years relate to one's living memory.

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The 1983 files make for interesting reading. Back then I was newly graduated from Trinity law school so was aware of the vast range of legal reforms being advocated to modernise Irish society. But I had not yet become politicised or involved in any party.

It was a time when it was a crime to be homosexual. Condoms were only available on prescription. There was a constitutional ban on divorce. The pro-life movement was in its heyday, having secured a commitment from the outgoing Fianna Fail government to insert a prohibition on abortion in the Constitution even though it was already a criminal offence in Irish law.

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