This pamphlet was produced by the Workers Solidarity Movement in the weeks before the 1986 referendum on whether or not to remove the constitutional ban on divorce. The vote was lost by a margin of almost 2:1, with 935,843 (63.48%) voting to keep the ban and 538,279 (36.52%) to remove it. A second referendum in 1995 saw the ban finally scrapped, with a result of 818,842 (50.28%) to 809,728 (49.72%).
Alone on the far left, the WSM was heavily involved in this campaign and had two members elected to the National Executive of the Divorce Action Group. At the time they described their motivation as being to “increase personal freedoms” and “challenge the power of the Catholic bishops”. Read the full text of the pamphlet in the article.
Fin Dwyer looks at the latter years of Ireland’s first post independence government, which having successfully suppressed political opposition and the workers’ movement, went on to “attack women and enforce their moral and ethical values on wider society”. From the clearing of prostitutes from the Monto and the filling of the Magdalene laundries to the institutionalisation of child abuse, he describes how the state’s close association with the Catholic Church played a decisive role in forming attitudes to women and sex that have had a devastating effect on Irish society that can still be felt today.
Workers Solidarity Movement position paper on Anarchism and Religion as ratified at November 2010 National Conference
It is emerging that thousands of children were starved to death in state funded homes run by nuns in Ireland. The Daily Mail today carries a detailed report which quotes Philip Redmond, a survivor of Sean Ross Abbey Hospital, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary where of the 167 babies born in 1942, there were 72 deaths. Mr Redmond says "As far as Bessborough is concerned, there is little doubt in our minds that as many as 2,000 died while we believe another 1,200 died in Sean Ross Abbey" This figures are to be added to the estimated 796 bodies found in a waste tank in the grounds of then Tuam home - see the earlier piece on this page.
On Newstalk's Pat Kenny show Michael Kelly, editor of the Irish Catholic, said: 'There are some people who are kind of living ... anarchy fantasy through a lot of this, these ... kind of ... Irish Water protesters. There's no question of that'.
Mr. Kelly is surprisingly correct. The principles of anarchism are to be seen everywhere you turn in the struggle against the water charges.
People coming together in solidarity, building community spirit through the initiative of individuals, practising real democracy to organise against the injustice of the powerful, so that we may free ourselves from the burden of toil and arbitrary authority and live contentedly - this is the anarchy fantasy.
A few days ago the catholic bishops yet again dared to lecture people in Ireland with their statement against marriage equality. This morning Díobháil, a new Galway feminist group, has used Galway cathedral to speak out for and help the women trapped in unwanted pregnancies because of the bishops' role in another referendum, the 1983 anti choice referendum.
In the years since 1983 it emerged that the same bishops had conspired to hide priests who had raped children, not just on one or two but on many occasions. Despite that this same group of supposedly celibate men still continue to bother us with lectures opposing sexual freedom, bodily autonomy and even same sex relationships. The same bishops still have de facto control over most of our schools and many of our hospitals and community centres.
The mass grave in Tuam isn't simply a story of a handful of evil nuns acting out of sight and discovered 80 years too late. It's the story of the long and protracted relationship between the Irish state and the Catholic church as illustrated by these two photos from the 1930s and 1950s.
The first is one of many scenes from the 1932 Eucharistic Congress, a few short years after the Tuam home went into operation. The congress saw the Irish state lay on an enormous pageant to cement its relationship with the church as part of the process of recasting its control over the population through the promotion of a regressive religious ideology that marginalised independent women, queers and anyone else who didn't toe the line.
Almost a century ago, "800 years of oppression" at the hands of the Anglo-Normans and the British monarchy came to an end on three quarters of the island, but it wasn't the end of oppression in Ireland. The baton was eagerly taken by the Catholic Church and the southern Irish state, and in eight years they will be celebrating one hundred years of kidnap, torture, murder and sexual abuse. (content warning: Mentions sexual abuse, child abuse, kidnapping, neglect)
The media frenzy may have settled for now over Cardinal Sean Brady’s failure to pass on information about a notorious clerical sex abuser in his midst but we need to make sure we don’t let this extremely wealthy multi-national chiefdom called the Catholic Church off the hook.
On Tuesday 1st May, a BBC spotlight programme revealed that cardinal, and then Fr Brady was at interviews in 1975 where two children were asked to sign a vow of silence after they were abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth. One survivor, Brendan Bolan told This World that he had given details of other children to Fr Brady(who was the ‘note taker’ at the time) he suspected were being abused but the problem found that none of their families or the police had ever been warned.