Thursday 14 December 2017

Vocal anguish of a father, a patriot, and a Christian

The day the Taoiseach condemned the Vatican was the day hypocrisy began to die in Ireland, writes Emer O'Kelly

I WAS in tears as I listened to and watched the Taoiseach in the Dail during the week. I had despaired of seeing the day when the democratically elected prime minister of my country would abandon ambivalence and use two terrible words in condemnation of what has happened to thousands of children in our society. In the children's defence, Enda Kenny condemned a foreign state out of hand for the dysfunction, disconnection and elitism that dominate its culture in this context, so that it can uphold the primacy, power, standing and "reputation" of its own institutional State.

He condemned the Vatican roundly with all-encompassing quiet conviction: it was the vocal anguish of a father and a good Christian, the compassion of a believing soul evident in every sorrowfully angry word; it was the voice of a patriot who takes deeply seriously his oath as leader of the freely elected Irish Government -- the Government of a sovereign state which bows to no other and condemns the actions of any other which contravene and betray decency and the human and civil rights of the innocent and defenceless.

The layers of pride and dignity represented by what Enda Kenny said last Wednesday will echo through the history of statesmanship in our country, a declaration that has never been equalled since independence. It appeared to be the declaration of a man driven to blind rage, to disgusted outrage, to overwhelming frustration, and overcoming them all to return with the icy determination of integrity, courage, and a preparedness to take on all those who will accuse him of being a renegade to "everything decent that Ireland stands for".

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