Tuesday 21 November 2017

John-Paul McCarthy: Women showed poise and dignity in abortion debate

Despite their differing views, Averil Power and Fidelma Healy Eames did Seanad proud, says John-Paul McCarthy

Averil Power
Averil Power
Fidelma Healy Eames

John-Paul McCarthy

In his famous polemic, The Victory of Sinn Fein, the old Cork city Fenian PS O'Hegarty fretted about the little lady's capacity to negotiate the dialectics of politics. "They took to their hearts," he sighed, "every catch-cry and every narrowness and every bitterness."

He would surely have wanted to withdraw this formulation had he heard last week's Seanad debate on the abortion issue. Senators Averil Power and Fidelma Healy Eames stole the show in the upper house with their poise and quiet dignity.

Both senators spoke in the spirit of Edmund Burke's admonition that "political reason is a computing principle: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, morally and not metaphysically or mathematically, true moral denominations".

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