Wednesday 22 November 2017

Ronan Fanning: Panicked and shamed into action

Enda Kenny's U-turn on a Savita inquiry was done to save face as our EU presidency looms

Ronan Fanning

Twenty years ago, when the news broke of the Supreme Court's judgment on the X case and I wanted to write an article for the Sunday Independent, I lived in Ballyfad, near Coolgreaney on the border of Wexford and Wicklow. But first I had to read the judgment, which was easier said than done before internet access. So Willie Kealy put a copy on the next bus to Wexford and I collected it from The Chocolate Box, a shop beside the bus stop in Arklow's main street.

I shall never forget the cold rage that consumed me when I read the now famous words of Judge Niall McCarthy: "The failure by the legislature to enact the appropriate legislation is no longer just unfortunate; it is inexcusable. What are pregnant women to do? What are the parents of a pregnant girl under age to do? What are the medical profession to do? They have no guidelines save what may be gleaned from the judgments in this case."

Twenty years and seven governments later, we are now where we were then. But this time the wave of rage triggered by the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar is a tsunami of unstoppable force that has caught up every decent man and woman not only in Ireland but in the wider world.

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