Family values

Authoritarianism and the early Irish State

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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.

Marriage Equality: Assimilation is Boring, I Want Liberation

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This year it feels as if there has been a revamping of homophobia in the north which has had, unsurprisingly, significant support from the church and those in political and therefore institutional power.

We have witnessed the DUP quash the third attempt to legalise queer marriage, bigoted ‘Christian’ bakers refusing to follow through with a service they advertised because it went against their “deeply held beliefs” (not to mention all the other services they provide that do go against their beliefs). This was followed by the the DUP attempting to bring in a 'Conscience Clause' to legalize and institutionalize homophobia; to make it legal to refuse service to someone because of their sexuality. The above examples are only a few of the homophobic incidents that have taken place recently.

The resistance and the fightback from these incidents must be queer-led and supported by our straight allies. Moreover, it should be noted that incidents like the above push us into a defensive stance; as opposed to an offensive one.

The arguments for drug de-criminalisation

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THE LEGALISATION OF CANNABIS is now being debated openly by sections of the European ruling class. In localised areas like Amsterdam they have been conducting a 20 year experiment into the effects of legalisation. In Switzerland they are experimenting with the de-criminalisation of small quantities of heroin. According to the British Guardian one well-known brewery, Carlsberg-Tetley, has been investigating the hash cafes of Amsterdam with a view to running similar establishments in Britain. In Italy a referendum in March of 1993 ended the obligatory penal sentence for cannabis possession and in Germany earlier this year the Supreme Court suggested personal possession of drugs should not be prosecuted.

Sex, Gasmasks & Pantyhose

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THE 'BACK TO BASICS' propaganda campaign has been undermined because the Tories failed to meet their own moral standards. In condemning the Tory party we must be careful not to take on their morality. There's nothing wrong with shagging. No one should expect human sexual behaviour to be expressed in only one way. It's strange that while we accept diversity in tastes in food, music, book, films when it comes to sex we talk of rights, wrongs and norms.

Parents, Poverty & Family values in 1994 Year of the Family

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1994 HAS BEEN declared the UN Year of the Family. The Irish Committee for the International Year includes state bodies like the Combat Poverty Agency & the Council for the Status of Women and the Catholic ones like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Family Solidarity were also members but walked out in protest at token places being given to two groups working with single parents. This committee has received £400,000 from Leinster House.

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