Monday 22 January 2018

Eilis O'Hanlon: Losing Lucinda a loss for us all

Eilis O'Hanlon

Irish politics increasingly recalls the line from Casablanca. "How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that. Some day they may be scarce." We have an equally extravagant tendency to throw away good politicians. Unlike Humphrey Bogart, though, we don't need to wait until they become scarce to see what we've lost. They already are scarce.

Getting scarcer too, now that Lucinda Creighton looks set to be ejected from her party for refusing to support the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. Look at Des O'Malley. Kicked out of Fianna Fail in 1985 for "conduct unbecoming" because he abstained on a Fine Gael/Labour bill to liberalise the sale of contraceptives, which his own party had opted to oppose. The Soldiers of Destiny never apologised, much less invited him back into the fold.

It was their loss, as they'd probably admit in retrospect. Unfortunately, it was also the country's loss. Now history seems to be repeating itself, the only difference being that the "conduct unbecoming" this time is to have an inconvenient opinion on abortion.

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