Carol Hunt: Opportunist 'allies' are a total turn off
Many might agree with some of Ganley's ideas, but the pro-life rent-a-crowd will only deter them
For a few moments it seemed like there was hope for Ireland. The meeting room was thronged; all seats taken, people standing, sitting, and spilling out in to the hallways and on the staircase; the political handlers excitedly attempting to clear the entrance for the two speakers of the evening. There were, the posters had assured us, Alternatives for Ireland, and an angry and disillusioned people looked to have come out to hear them. Perhaps a new political party would emerge from this meeting, perhaps there was another way?
But just two minutes after the first speaker (economist Professor Ray Kinsella) took to the stage, it was obvious that this wasn't a gathering of citizens interested in changing the face of Irish politics; this was Rent-a-Crowd. For about an hour, the good professor explained to the adoring crowd how "abortion and misguided austerity are interconnected". I kid you not. This father of 10 children insisted that "austerity and abortion are inextricably bound up, both destructive of the individual and both are being pursued contrary to the truth and the facts".
It was then that a few of us realised we were outsiders at a "Pro-life" rally. I wished I hadn't worn such a bright red top – this crowd didn't look as if they would have much time for a pro-choice, atheist member of the "liberal media". Was I imagining the dirty looks from the front row of very young people?