Wednesday 13 December 2017

Kevin Myers: Ireland was a strange and demented place in 1975

Kevin Myers

A cast of virginal clerics wielded enormous power, with little resistance from the political classes

I N 1975, when two children were sworn to an oath of secrecy by senior members of the Catholic Church about the sexual violation which they had endured from the serial rapist priest, Brendan Smyth, this was essentially a Catholic State. The institutions of government imposed a Catholic interpretation upon the rule of law. Contraceptives were not lawfully available. Divorce was impossible. Abortion was not remotely discussable in Dail Eireann.

Within the body-politic of this State, there was simply no appetite for a confrontation with the Catholic Church. Our film-censorship laws were essentially a civil application of the then current Catholic teaching. (See Kevin Rockett's wonderful, deeply sobering book 'Irish Film Censorship.')

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