Sunday 19 November 2017

Baby Ann case shows 'new' Ireland is really only skin deep

Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

NOT quite as modern as we like to congratulate ourselves, are we? As the Baby Ann case highlights.

One small but revealing detail preoccupies me in relation to this poignant and defining episode in the lives of two couples: the young pair who found they were having a baby felt they couldn't confide in their parents.

The year was 2004 and a couple of university students in their early twenties, who might be considered representatives of the dynamic new face of Ireland, seem to have felt ashamed and compromised by a pregnancy outside marriage. Isn't that a morality which harks back to the Magdalene laundries? What's it doing rearing its head in our Starbucks society with its Google and Microsoft plants, its revitalised docklands and almost-settled Northern question? This reference point in the Baby Ann case shakes the received wisdom that when Ireland was propelled into the 21st century at warp speed, its people embraced social change without reservation.

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