Tuesday 19 November 2019

Well, as long as we’re being stupid about things

Enda Kenny is beginning to look not so much a Taoiseach as a hapless night watchman patrolling an abandoned fair ground – the toys have all been packed away, the customers have gone home and everything worth taking was already nicked before he came on to this shift.

And his latest misstep in the abortion debate is a perfect illustration of a man who seems to be making things up as he goes along.

Because making suicidal tendencies the centrepiece of the legislation was always going to be strewn with landmines.

Let's face it – how many Irish women kill themselves each year because they are pregnant?

On the other hand, an estimated 1,500 Irish women are told each year that their child suffers from a fatal foetal abnormality, yet they will be excluded from any protections offered by the Bill. It's an astonishingly heartless position to take, but when people are more concerned with a political or religious issue than those who actually have to live with those consequences, should we even be surprised?

In fairness to Alan Shatter, who has done more than most to demonise his own reputation in recent months, he is prepared to state the facts – the proposal just doesn't go far enough: "(The Bill) will unfortunately, and very sadly, be of no assistance to women who are the victims of rape unless they are suicidal, it will be of no assistance to women who have a pregnancy where there is a fatal foetal abnormality."

That, you would think, would have been screamingly obvious, but Shatter will no doubt continue to spend his lunch break sitting in the Dáil canteen on his own while all the other kids play with Enda and give him filthies.

So, let's get this straight – we are to be a country which will allow a termination in the case of potential suicide but won't accommodate women who have been raped or who are expected to a carry a doomed child to full term.

So, what is to stop a rape victim or a woman with a desperately unviable baby from meeting an abortion panel and 'simply' (nothing's ever simple in this, but you know what I mean) saying they are having suicidal thoughts?

We could have an honest debate and discuss whether we are prepared to have a referendum that grants any woman who wants an abortion to have one, within the internationally recognised standard of between 20-24 weeks. A fair and free vote that we all adhere to.

Or, in the meantime, we could simply ask women in those circumstances to lie.

It's what we do.


Footage has now emerged of Sharon Osbourne (pictured) shouting at one of the X Factor wannabees, Jonnie Rocco, who had pointedly asked her if Ozzy could sing.

"Get him the f**k out of my room," she huffed, before chucking a pen and hitting him on the shoulder.

This is outrageous, I thought.

How dare she be such a bully to a frail old man who probably only wanted to see himself on telly before he died?

And then later the report rather casually mentioned: "73-year-old Jonnie gained notoriety in 2007 when he appeared to issue Mafia style death threats to Louis Walsh."

Mother of sweet and divine Jaysus. Just what the hell is happening to our old people today?

Honestly, back in their day . . .


One of the things that we hear from Americans is that their First Amendment right to free speech is sacred.

Well, sorta sacred.

Former Occupy Wall Street activist Jeff Olson (40) faces 13 years in a California jail after being lifted for writing anti-bank statements on the path outside various branches of Bank Of America in San Diego.

His slogans were written in chalk so they have already been washed away but the judge has declared that Olson's attorney planned defence is bogus and that he could not even refer to: "The First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial."

Now, I'm no fan of the whole Occupy movement (a bunch of attention-seeking dupes, most of them) but I would have thought that scrawling a bit of chalk across a sidewalk is hardly sedition.

I suppose at least we can just thank God that we have no reason to feel that angry with the banks in our country.

Wait? Where are you all going? Did I miss something in the news?


Following several high-profile cases of Asian men using vulnerable white English women as sex slaves in recent weeks, mosques across England issued a blanket denunciation of this practice during Friday prayers.

That's all well and good, but there was the bizarre sight on Sky's lunchtime news when one local Islamic leader, Solomon Kawaja, condemned the sex rings but then blamed liberal sex education in schools, pornography on the internet. And then, while he was on a roll, he threw in the fact that young Asian men are alienated by groups like the EDL.

Ah, so they weren't rapists. Not really.

They were just confused and alienated.

Frankly, I'm just amazed that the female victims haven't seen sent on a cultural sensitivity course to avoid such misunderstandings in the first place.

Irish Independent

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