You may recall yesterday’s thoughtful response from Labour TD Sean Kenny explaining why he voted against Clare Daly’s ‘Savita’s Law’ bill to a constituent.
The following is, reportedly, a brief exchange between a mother-of-two from Clare and her local Labour TD Michael McNamara, (above left with Ivana Bacik and Eamon Gilmore), posted on the MagicMum website.
..last night Micheal you certainly didn’t represent me. It is a travesty that you and others like you have such blatant disregard for the health and lives of the women of this country and county. As a mother of two daughters your actions last night made me cry. I hope I and any future partners they may have never have to go through what Praveen Halappanavar and many others (maybe not with such dire consequences, luckily) like him went through Consider my vote gone. Sincerely yours, xxxx
Dear Ms ***,
Did you even read or listen to the Minister’s speech wherein he promised legislation and provided a timeframe? If not, I’d suggest you do so: Justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/SP12000333 Isn’t there a certain irony that instead you resorted to a Youth Defence strategy?
I’ve been watching Vincent Browne for years, and have never seen him interviewed. I wanted to get some of his views first-hand.
So I sent him an email…
Simon Hall: As a child, in the 1950s, you spent a year at Coláiste na Rinne, the Gaeltacht near Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. I, too, spent many summers in that same spot. What are your memories of that time, and place?
Vincewnt Browne: It was very raw. Cold, bleak and at times cruel. But I became fluent in Irish there and easily got honours in the Leaving Certificate six years later having learnt no Irish in the interval. It also taught me maths.
Simon Peter Hall: While attending UCD in the 1960s, you must have taken part in discussions about the move to Belfield, Minister of Education Donagh O’Malley’s proposed merger of UCD and Trinity, and much more besides. You also established the ‘College Tribune’ in 1989, so you’ve been involved in college life for decades. Do you have a favourite story about UCD? Did anyone, in particular, influence you strongly?
Vincent Browne: I have no recollection of any discussions or debate in UCD in the mid-Sixties about the move to Belfield, which, in retrospect, seems odd. I do remember thinking however that it was a bad decision. It would have been possible for UCD to buy up properties on Stephen’s Green at the time and extending down Dawson St; more interesting than what it has become.
The argument I know is that it would have been very difficult to cater for the 25,000 students that now populate UCD but, I think, it could have been done at a time when property was relatively cheap.
Hall: You once wrote, reflecting on your coverage of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the quashing of the “Prague Spring,” that you had learned “the falsehood of optimism. That the belief of inevitable progress towards democracy, freedom, equality, fairness and justice was unfounded. And not just in Czechoslovakia.” Do you think the results of the Arab Spring alters that conclusion?
Browne: I hope I didn’t write about the “falsehood” of optimism but I do believe there is not an “inevitable” progress towards democracy, freedom, equality and justice. Indeed western societies are a good deal less equal, more unjust and less free than they were in the 1960s.
Hall:You’ve had a hand in breaking many controversial stories over the years, to do with the links between the Workers’ Party and Official IRA, the DIRT scandal, and so on, and you’ve also been the subject of controversy from time to time. What is the most important fact, from all that time, which you think the people of Ireland should know about, but is widely ignored or forgotten?
Browne: By far the most important fact is the scale of inequality here and how this is not at all inevitable or unavoidable. The Institute of Public Health published a report ten years ago, “Inequality in Mortalities” which found that because of inequality there were around 5,400 premature deaths here every year. The political establishment is in denial about this and society in general is too.
Hall:What piece of advice would you give to fledgling writers beginning in journalism?
Browne: Don’t. No jobs, no prospects and, anyway, it is not what it is cracked up to be.
During the last few days of Movember, I hooked up with my Mo Bros, to document their growth. Massive thanks to all who took part. Special thanks to my Bro Ethan for filming Dad and Myself. Shot on Canon 550d.
Guess the music, anyone?
John Gallagher writes:
My friend Karl Lumsden (above), doing Movember for a charity very close to his heart, would love if you could give him a mention. Our company will match whatever he can raise.