Sunday 19 November 2017

I felt a pain in my political heart when I heard of Savita tragedy

The Taoiseach has a stock phrase which appears in his speeches these days. It goes something like this: "I want Ireland to be the best small country in the world (in which to do business)." His face graced the cover of 'Time' magazine and he picked up a European of the Year award at a glittering ceremony. All this reflecting the verdict emanating from the World Economic Forum that Ireland is the "poster child" for economic recovery. And it is true there is a lot of goodwill for Ireland, thanks to a world-class aid programme and respected peacekeepers and diplomats.

Last week, when ministerial heads were hanging after the pathetic turnout and a narrow win in the Children's referendum, glasses were tinkling in Iveagh House to celebrate a different victory, again on the international stage. 190 countries had voted to award Ireland a seat on the prestigious United Nations Human Rights Council. Ireland got nearly as many votes as the United States and Germany, beating off stiff competition in the Western European and Others region from Sweden and Greece.

It was, according to the Tanaiste, "a great day for Ireland and for the values that are dear to us. . . Human rights and the protection of human rights is a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy" and that this victory was an "endorsement of Ireland's international standing".

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