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Magdalene truths

THERE was more than a touch of the cruel denouement of Animal Farm surrounding the scholastic caution of Mr Kenny's ambivalent response to the Magdalene Report, for the insipid legalisms that characterised the Taoiseach's worst performance since the Moriarty Report were as devoid of any sense of empathy as the worst days of Mr Cowen.

Subsequently, the growing queue of Irish Times apologists for Mr Kenny nonsensically claimed that the Taoiseach might have been distracted by the promissory notes deal. In fact, far more fundamental factors than this or the growing inability of a Government obsessed by the cost of everything to fail to understand the value of small things are at play.

The major political weakness of Mr Kenny is – understandably for a dynastic politician – a tendency to prioritise the interests of the warm and known tribe of insiders such as the local TD, the garda, the monsignor and the judge who golf together on Sundays. Mr Kenny's discomfort last week is explained as much by political embarrassment over the role of his own party and class in creating such a terrifying State for disempowered children, whose response, even today, to their fate is characterised by patience rather than avarice.

Decency requires a departure by the Taoiseach from his petit-bourgeois temerity. Children know the saddest thing in this world is a person that does not have a soul. Mr Kenny, in his dealings with the lost children of the Magdalenes, would be wise to take note of such wisdom.

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