GAA, The Singing Priest And The Eighth



From top: The Launch of The launch of GAA Athletes for a No Vote on Saturday, in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10; Father Ray Kelly on Britain’s Got Talent

There was a time back in the 1980s when I truly believed that Ireland was on a progressive trajectory of cultural change. I had a severe case of optimism back then, cured by a divorce referendum, an abortion referendum and the moving statues phenomenon. Ireland, it seemed, was slow to change.

One afternoon about 10 years ago, I came across a gaggle of drunken rag-week students, all male, ladding it around the town. Something about the familiarity of their Irish features and their general demeanour caused a kind of epiphany.

It occurred to me that the reason why Ireland had failed to take that progressive trajectory is because most people, for the most part, become like their parents, since this is the trajectory of least resistance.

It takes real effort to make a break with the past, and the truth is, most people can’t be arsed.

The macro result is that the culture, any culture, remains more or less the same from generation to generation.

In Ireland this sameyness is helped in great part by emigration and the departure of the majority of adventurous spirits, leaving the dull and the lazy to tend to the culture, with predictable results, like RTÉ programming and Country and Irish music.

Even the much-lauded Celtic Tiger period was essentially more of the same in Ireland except there were better cars and holidays and cocaine, but under the hood of souped Celtic Tiger decadence, things remained pretty much donkey-and-cart Irish in the bars and parlours of the wet old sod.

For instance, during the Celtic Tiger period some obscure saint’s “relic” came to Ireland for a “tour” – it was a splinter of bone I think, a kind of Elvis’ toenail for serious Catholics.  People turned up in their thousands to pay homage to this old dead thing, proving that Ireland had one foot still very firmly planted in the European medieval period. There was a long way to go yet for anything that might look like a progressive cultural trajectory.

Now we have another Groundhog Day-like referendum and the same cast of dubious characters are haunting the cultural landscape with essentially the same regressive doctrines and fear-mongering. It’s a wonder that they’re still here.

The progressive nature and success of the marriage equality referendum bodes well for the advent of an age of cultural enlightenment at last. Though I may be losing the run of myself a bit here and slipping dangerously towards unabashed optimism. And we all know where that leads.

Apart from the complexities of the abortion issue – it is in these complexities that the fundamentalists make the most hay by generating confusion, fear and uncertainty – I personally don’t see this really as being about abortion as such.

Abortion, divorce, same-sex marriage and so on are just the ball in a greater game; diversions from the core issue of all the debates that have plagued Ireland around sexuality.

That core issue is the grip on power the catholic church managed to wangle in the formation of the new Irish state, courtesy of de Valera who used them for some much-needed political stability, but maybe got a little more stability than he bargained for.

We’re still severely stabilised here in Ireland. The latest referendum, like the ones that preceded it, is really a question asking: Are we ready yet to risk thinking for ourselves?

It seems now that the church deliberately set out to indoctrinate the Irish people into a system of social, political and personal control, using the free access to the minds of children they enjoyed in the new state, to deeply embed ideas of shame, guilt, fear and uncertainty regarding questions of sexuality, establishing a kind of totalitarian power over the new state, to provide a foothold in a Europe in which the church was becoming increasingly irrelevant.

The greatest irony of this campaign of oppression, as we all know, was the fact that the church itself provided cover for sexual predators who preyed on children in that church-generated climate of fear and uncertainty, causing cowed Irish adults to turn a blind eye to their activities.

This was the oppression in action. The generational inculcation of fear and guilt and tipping the hat to a clergy that behaved abominably, betraying the trust of an entire people’s mistaken respect, while clerics engaged in activities that included the rape of children and the selling of children for profit, among other “caring” preoccupations that have since been revealed to appall the world.

Two of the legacies of that campaign to oppress the Irish people were the divorce and abortion referenda where the church and its lackeys, and often with help, training and money from fundamentalist Christian organisations in the US, set out to manipulate those old fears and uncertainties embedded in Irish people in previous generations, their goal similarly to achieve social, political and personal control through shame, guilt, fear and uncertainty.

A Yes vote in the upcoming referendum is a Yes to releasing the grip these fanatics continue to hold on the minds and hearts of many Irish people and continue to hold on the Irish constitution itself.

This continued grip on power was achieved over generations through clever and underhanded manipulations, in a campaign of oppression that was designed to trick Irish people into democratically locking these oppressive ideas into Irish law, and by doing so, locking the church’s influence into the secular state.

When you vote Yes, you vote Yes to undoing the damage these shameless manipulators have inflicted on the Irish Constitution. You break their hold on power once and for all.

Nevertheless, they do persist, and the game continues. Yesterday a group of GAA footballers came out to launch a campaign for a No vote on the grounds that abortion is a failure of team-work. They say:

“…the proposal fails the test of teamwork. This is a society of people of many talents, with boundless potential and vast resources. If we work together, we can come up with a better solution than to cast away the rights of our unborn children and call it a solution. We can, and we must, do better.”

Suggestions on a postcard please, I guess.

Talk about simplifying the complex. But since they’re raised the metaphor of teamwork, you have to wonder if allowing a woman to die because the medical team’s hands are tied by the legalities of the 8th amendment is not also a failure of “teamwork”.

The statement also says:

“The proposal the Government has put forward is not inclusive. It specifically seeks to exclude one group of people, the unborn, from our society. It strips them of rights, it declares that they are not on our team.”

As this government routinely does with the homeless, with patients on hospital trolleys, with the disabled, the immigrants, the emigrants, the low paid worker and the unemployed.
It might be a greater demonstration of social concern and practical benefit if the GAA players went campaigning for the housing of the 5,000 homeless children the state also does not include on the “team”.

The statement ends with the brilliantly oblivious,:

“We respect and cherish women. We support them, and we believe that as a society, we have much more, so much more, to offer our women than the death of their children.”

Really? Like what, for instance?

Some right wing Christian think-tank may have put the GAA players up to this. But the concept is spun so poorly that it is likely that the GAA players dreamed it up themselves.
For instance, the core principles they cite are; inclusiveness, compassion, respect, dignity and teamwork.

But realistically each of these comes with a barely concealed gender prejudice and might more honestly be presented as, Inclusiveness (except for the girls.); Compassion (except for the girls.); Respect (except for the girls); Dignity (except for the girls.); Teamwork (Except for the girls.)

Then, just in time for the referendum, to cap it all off, like a fresh gag in a bleak divine comedy, Ireland coughs up, like a miraculous intervention, a singing priest crooning “Everybody Hurts” (they sure do, father) on Britain’s Got Talent.

This is a performance that has been fulsomely praised on Facebook by young Irish people who really should know better. But the strangest thing of it is. When the priest finished
singing there was a deathly silence in the auditorium until Simon Cowell rose to his feet and generated an ovation. Cowell sees money in this and he’s clearly backing the crooning cleric for a big payoff.

This, for those of a medieval mindset, appears to indicate that the singing priest has made a pact with the Devil.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance writer

Pics:  Rollingnews/ITV


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124 thoughts on “GAA, The Singing Priest And The Eighth

    1. Pat Harding

      Control the sex and you control the population.

      The Catholic Church was the only bastion of the western Roman Empire to survive its downfall. It has also the imperial arrogance, politics, and dishonesty of an authoritarian entity. Marriage was not a defined sacrament in the Catholic Church until 1184 Council of Verona and then not promulgated into Canon law until the Council of Trent in 1547. Celibacy in the priesthood has only been part of canon law since the 12th century.

      The pernicious influence of Catholicism on Ireland cannot be underestimated, and neither can the role of Catholic lay organisations like Opus Dei. They sucked the lifeblood out of our nation in its infancy, and they’re still at it. They are the ‘enemy within’, and their first loyalty is to the Vatican which is an undemocratic foreign state.

      Frankly, Ireland would have been better off to have embraced the reformation and sent these papal rats packing centuries ago.

  1. dav

    Thanks Eamon, powerful piece. I remember being dragged to a 24hr Novena when the 1983 referendum was being held. The church isn’t using such tactics this time but their message of do not trust women is coming through loud and clear.

  2. Leopold Gloom

    The GAA should be strictly telling these players and managers that under no circumstances are they allowed to wear club colours, or county colours, or anything with GAA’s name or sponsorship on it. They can canvas all they want, but using their own name and time.

    They shouldn’t have been allowed near a club either.

    Claims the GAA is all inclusive, yet they’ve a history of being anything but (wouldn’t let my own grandfather play due to being spotted playing a soccer match, the temerity of it all)

    1. newsjustin

      +1 agree. To be fair, I think they were “Gaelic Players for Life.” No direct mention of GAA. I’ve no problem with Gaelic Players for Life or Gaelic Players for Yes, etc. But agree with the GAA stressing their independence.

      1. ReproBertie (SCU)

        Didn’t the GAA issue a statement to county boards or someone in the wake of this saying the organisation was staying out of the debate and they expected that members would follow suit rather than claim to speak on their behalf?

        I see three of those launching the GAA Athletes for a No vote don’t have a vote in the upcoming referendum. More Pro Life foreign interference.

        1. newsjustin

          See I think it was they were “Gaelic Athletes for No” not “GAA Athletes for No”.

          I don’t know about which of them can vote or not. Not too bothered. People should be free to speak their mind as far as I’m concerned.

          1. ReproBertie (SCU)

            The papers are reporting them as “GAA Athletes for No” or “GAA Players for No” so some confusion is to be expected.

          2. newsjustin

            Are they not UK citizens rather than British citizens? If we’re determined to ignore them because they’re some kinda foreign, we should probably get that right.

    2. rotide

      Is it only me that remembers the pearl clutching when the GAA referee was prevented from wearing his equality wristband in the last referendum?

      Or the complete lack of outrage when the GPA encouraged a yes vote?

      Must be just me.

  3. Murtles

    “But the strangest thing of it is. When the priest finished singing there was a deathly silence in the auditorium until Simon Cowell rose to his feet and generated an ovation.”
    This I’d say was a production sound edit for some strange reason, maybe to make the performance a bit more memorable perhaps? It’s in a audiences instinct to clap once a song has ended be it good or bad and as this was a good performance, I’m sure they were in like Flynn but cue a silence and a Cowell take.

    1. rotide

      they do this sort of thing all the time. It’s usually pretty apparent that they’ve edited it to create that result.

  4. Ben Redmond

    So ‘objectively’ this referendum isn’t about abortion, and objectively other referendums weren’t about abortion or divorce. They are instead about social and political ‘stability’. Remove the power of the church over our collective psyche and hey presto we’ll get the instability we need. This instability is the panacea for a long-sought normality and happiness. One strange thing though is that on some National Happiness league tables published in recent years Ireland figures in the top dozen or fifteen, ahead of France, the UK and Italy. Agnostic normality and sexual liberation haven’t made such countries happy. Maybe they should try abortion referendums.

    1. newsjustin

      This article just rolls out the tired old trendy view that everything in Ireland would be great if it wasn’t for the church continuously keeping us down.

      Sometimes a referendum on divorce, gay marriage or abortion is just that – referenda on important social issues of the day.

      1. ReproBertie (SCU)

        Which the church just happens to oppose and allow the pulpit to be a platform for opposition.

        1. newsjustin


          You’re saying people should vote, not on the issue, but on who is backing a particular side? Wow, and people call churchy people sheep! Haha

          1. ReproBertie (SCU)

            No Justin, I’m saying the church has a history of campaigning against these referenda which could be seen as the church trying to hold us back, so it’s not a massive leap to see this as a vote against the church holding us back, as well as a vote on abortion.

            “It’s not about religion”, they tell us while campaigning with statues of Mary.

      2. david

        Yep Ireland grows up and its a message sent
        Vote yes to murder the unborn and no to continue catholic suppression
        Sad really that peoples faith is so fragile
        But this referendum is about life
        All the churches fault

      3. Cian

        “Sometimes a referendum on divorce, gay marriage or abortion is just that – referenda on important social issues of the day.”

        But there does seem to be a huge overlap in the people the are (a) anti-divorce; (b) anti-SSM; (c) anti-abortion; and (d) strongly Roman Catholic. Perhaps it is a vocal minority are all four – and that the 49% that voted no in 1996; and the 38% that voted no in 2015; the current anti-repeal; and the 30[1]% that attend mass weekly are all different cohorts[2]

        [1] I can’t find a figure for this – wiki says it was 30% in 2011
        [2] hint – they are not.

        1. newsjustin

          I’m not saying there is not an overlap. But this article is suggesting we ignore the actual substance of the referendum – do you want to remove the constitution’s acknowledgement of the right to life of the unborn or not – and view it instead as a them-and-us against the RCC. I thought the pro-choice campaigners would have had better arguments than that.

          1. ReproBertie (SCU)

            Ah now Justin, you know that getting one over the church is far from the Pro Choice’s list of arguments.

  5. newsjustin

    I knew this referendum was about the Catholic Church. Even when it was about abortion, I knew it was about the Catholic Church.

    And the hilarity of hand-wringing over a singing priest on the telly. Lol.

    1. jusayinlike

      So inconvenient being a Catholic eh Justin, your dogma finances a dark age campaign against women and people think your a blatant hypocrite..

    2. SOQ

      A country with a near history of theocracy from a church which of all major religions holds the most extreme anti abortion views also has one of the most restrictive anti abortion laws in the world. And yet we are told that this has nothing to do with religion?

      Pull the other one.

      1. newsjustin

        This is a referendum about abortion SOQ. Look, obviously, it suits the pro-choice campaign to pitch this as a battle against the dreadful RCC. A lot of people get excited about voting against the big-bad church that they have been told has been keeping them back. After all, this is [Current Year] so we really ought to be leaving all that church stuff behind.

        It’s not a bad strategy. It draws some attention from the humanity of foetuses.

        1. Frill the 8th

          Well tell them that
          And get their priests n bishops to stop telling people how to vote

          1. newsjustin

            Tell them what?

            And what’s wrong with a civil society organisation encouraging a particular point of view? It’s how a strong, diverse democracy works.

          2. Cian

            “a civil society organisation encouraging a particular point of view”
            “if you vote Yes you’ll go to hell”


          3. Daisy Chainsaw

            Like the Maser Mural on Project Arts property, the RCC getting involved in politics is outside their charitable remit so they need to abstain from interfering or have their charitable status revoked.

          4. newsjustin

            You can certainly make that case for that Daisy. But you’ll find that the charitable remit of the RCC is very broad, so you may not get any traction.

        2. SOQ

          I notice that you did not dispute my statement. As for leaving the church behind, it was responsible for the 8th and is therefore very relevant, especially as some clerics are so vocal in their opposition to it’s repeal.

          1. newsjustin

            What statement? The “near theocracy” lark? Honestly, I was going to but thought “what’s the point?” People who claim that Ireland was a theocracy, or that Ireland is one of the most corrupt nations on earth, or that Ireland is a third world country, etc, etc typically can’t be reasoned with on the matter.

          2. mildred st. meadowlark

            Up until 10, 20 years ago the governments of this country were very strongly influenced by the Catholic church. The last Magdalene laundry was only shut down in what, 1996?

            The Church and the State operated hand in hand from the foundation of the Irish State. Not nearly so much these days but it’s wrong to dismiss the Church’s role in our history.

          3. SOQ

            Theocracy: A system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god. That pretty much sums up most of our history. Are you some sort of revisionist or denier? How bizarre.

          4. newsjustin

            Can you name a priest, bishop or nun who has held public office in the Republic of Ireland? Ever.

          5. mildred st. meadowlark

            He didn’t hold office but Archbishop McQuaid is pretty notorious for his meddling in affairs of state.

          6. newsjustin

            That’s been overplayed (his supposed role in writing the constitution for example).

            And look at SOQ’s definition “rule”.

            SOQ will name one of the government’s priest rulers shortly now, I’m sure of it.

          7. Janet, I ate my Avatar

            Irish Catholic church’s rule overplayed
            Thanks for the giggle

          8. mildred st. meadowlark

            He’s pretty well known for his interference over the Mother and Baby Scheme, in fairness.

            You can dress it up all you like, the Church has interfered and involved itself in the workings of the Irish State over the years, and the State is guilty of allowing it to happen. This just happens to be one of countless examples.

          9. SOQ

            @ newsjustin

            As we are on the subject of pregnancy, let me give you an example.

            A priest could walk into the home of an unmarried woman, drag her away, sell the child then force her into slave labour for the rest of her life.

            Are you saying that did not happen? Really?

          10. mildred st. meadowlark

            You asked for an example. I gave you one.

            And if you can point me in the direction of where you read that his role was ‘overplayed’, that would be great. I genuinely would be interested in reading about this.

          11. newsjustin

            “A priest could walk into the home of an unmarried woman, drag her away, sell the child then force her into slave labour for the rest of her life.”

            That didn’t happen.

            How about the names of those priests in government who ruled over the theocracy SOQ?

          12. Frilly Keane

            C’mere Justin
            I wouldn’t get too confident standing up for McQuaid
            Especially since there were mentions in the Murphy & Ryan reports.
            There was even a civil action

            My reading of stuff about him tells me he fought against the Adoption Act ( to remove what they called ‘Out of Marriage’ adoptions from the Catholic Church) but when presented with a letter of a complaint of an assault he wasn’t long shutting up

            There is no denying he interfered with the work of several governments

          13. mildred st. meadowlark

            Thanks for that, newsjustin. An interesting article, certainly.

            But I didn’t state that McQuaid wrote our constitution. I did say he meddled in affairs of State – which is true. He did interfere with the Mother and Baby Scheme and his fingerprints are all over the Adoption Act of 1952. He got away with this level of interference because most of our Taoisigh were staunchly Catholic, as were most of the population at the time. Just because it was permitted by governments at the time that doesn’t make it acceptable.

          14. Cian

            Chapter 8 of John Cooney’s “John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Catholic Ireland” begins:
            “From early 1937 Eamonn de Valera was bombarded with letters daily – sometimes twice a day – from Fr. John McQuaid C.S.Sp. They were crammed with suggestions, viewpoints, documents and learned references on nearly every aspect on what was to become Bunreacht na hÉireann – the Constitution of Ireland. McQuaid was the persistent adviser, ‘one of the great architects of the Constitution, albeith in the shadows’.

        3. realPolithicks

          “Look, obviously, it suits the pro-choice campaign to pitch this as a battle against the dreadful RCC. ”

          This actually sounds like another attempt by the anti choice side to change the argument, you see that you are losing the referendum (at least in the opinion polls) so you’re playing the its “anti-church” card.

          1. newsjustin

            Wait. It’s this very article that claims its a referendum on the church. I’m saying it’s not….or at least that it shouldn’t be.

          2. EK

            The suggestion in the article is that secular Ireland is still in the grip of church influence in the form of the amendment to the constitution which came about as a direct result of church influence on the state. That’s the assertion. The article does not argue that the church has a similar level of power today as it had in the past. The 8th amendment is a legacy of that power and, as the article argues, voting Yes will have the effect of putting an end to the power the church had over the secular. Someone also said the article was hand-wringing about the singing priest. The article was ridiculing the singing priest and those who think such a thing is “cool”. It took for granted that readers would be aware of a litany of “singing” priests in the past, one of whom had a son by his housekeeper and they all lived hypocritically as a happy family during the era when the 8th amendment was forced into the constitution using the old strategies of fear and confusion that are on display again today. The allusion to the singing priest was drawn to satirically demonstrate that secular Ireland, even today, still seems a little susceptible to the allure of a singing priest, the point being that we are slow to change and we really need to wake up.

          3. rotide

            I get it.

            All black entertainers must be rapists because Bill Cosby is.

            Good one Eamon.

    1. Cian

      when a mammy and a daddy really love each other (and were, of course, married in a proper catholic way, and not godless prodestants) then, as a team, they get can pregnant. Remember a marriage is a threesome: mammy, daddy and god.

      1. TheRealJane

        Well if you think that’s teamwork over the course of a pregnancy, you have no idea.

    2. SOQ

      @ TheRealJane

      There is a certain amount of teamwork involved with some rugby players I believe?

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  6. Shayna

    I thought it was a great post, insightful. I’m still a member of my local GAA club, tickets for The All-Ireland. I’m not that great about The GAA going outside its sphere – promoting the language, as Gaeilge, agus Spoirte is all it’s about – in The Hand-book.

    1. jusayinlike

      That’s for public consumption Shayna, in reality it’s entrenched in dark age Catholicism..

    2. Frilly Keane

      Ah how’a’ya Shayna
      I heard yere lad
      Sacred Harte
      Was down at a Team meeting there just before the League
      Lets just say around the Munster Leinster border region
      To give a talk
      And when opened with prayers lads walked out

      1. Gringo

        Darned right they were. All the prayers in Ireland would”nt make footballers of them boys down there.

        1. ReproBertie (SCU)

          That’s exactly right. Prayers won’t change anything. Training and coaching on the other hand…

      2. Shayna

        To be fair to The Great Harte, he can practise as he pleases. The types in his charge can either follow, or not follow. His daughter, Michaela was murdered on her honeymoon – he gets solice in prayer. I’m a Catholic atheist, I’d bend a knee, however, if Mickey Harte asked me to think about Michaela – then we win our 4th All-Ireland. (Sorry, a tad flippant there on it). In 2003, Michaela coached The Tyrone Team the words to Amhrán Na bhFiann in prep for The All-Ireland final. She was great, Michaela R.I.P.

        1. Frilly Keane

          Ah shur’ there’s no fun in that

          Here I’ll give ya a bitta girlie talk
          Ya know the witness Florence?

          She’d the same handbag as me with her in Court

  7. Johnny Keenan

    Brilliant post Eamonn. My sentiments exactly.
    I was always voting YES for choice in the forthcoming referendum.
    But at the back of my mind it was a Yes and 2 fingers to the CCC Conservative Christian Cants that rule and ruin any form of clear thinking in OUR Republic.
    The GAA need to stand up in all this.
    I know the players don’t want to stand up and be counted. They won’t even stand up and look for a few euro FFS.
    It’s really sad that when it comes to GAA they are involved in every aspect of the community and it usually always is about fundraising.
    For an amateur organisation they have a serious obsession with money. Just like their moral masters the Catholic Church.

    You’ve touched on a few nerves in your article Eamon.
    The wound that I’d like to open is why won’t the GAA support Irish women’s choice.
    ‘Because that’s the why’ will be a big retort from these ‘free thinkers’.

    Ireland needs to move forward and if that is to happen the first thing is the YES vote needs to gets through.
    It’s about choice. I am trusting Irish women to make the right choice.
    I am not going to sit in judgement of someone I don’t know and judge them.
    If I do know a woman dealing with the many dilemmas of pregancy I’ll try my best to help and understand them.

    Tomorrow 24th April is Proclamation Day. For me it is Ireland’s Independence Day.
    The proclamation is a complex document. One thing that rings through though is FREEDOM and and that’s why the Irish citizens of 2018 should celebrate our Freedom and exercise it on May 25th. In support of Irish women to be free to make the right choice.

    Up Mnà na hÈireann and Up The Republic

    Kate Bush – Mnà May hÈireann

    1. newsjustin

      “Ireland needs to move forward and if that is to happen the first thing is the YES vote needs to gets through.”

      I’m confused as to how the right to end the life of a 12 week foetus means we are “moving forward” or progressing. Such barbarism belongs in humanity’s equally barbaric past.

      1. SOQ

        This from the man who believes that the morning after pill is a potential abortion but refuses to say if he would be in favour of banning it for some odd reason.

        1. newsjustin

          I think it should as it’s relying on good timing/fortune to not be an abortificiant. It’s a grey legal area, obviously, as it has obviously passed the 8th “test”.

          Not sure what your fuss is about here.

      2. EK

        Newsjustin, Maybe you’re confused because you haven’t questioned the authoritarian grip Irish Catholicism still has on your imagination. I’m not being twee when I say that. It’s up to each of us to admit that the culture was in the grip of an authoritarian organisation that did tremendous damage to individuals and institutions of state, among them the insertion of the 8th amendment into the constitution. If you are confused about all these matters it is because you are still taking your cue from the authoritarian church to look outside for the “sinners”, rather than looking into your own heart and learning to think for yourself. We are 100 hundred years after independence, as you know. The shape of the revolution now, if you will, is to learn to think for ourselves. That’s the way I see it.

  8. Gabby

    I think you are forgetting the historical origins of the GAA in Thurles in 1884. It happened during a time of low national morale. The revival of ‘national games and pastimes’ became part of a general cultural revival following the calamity of the great famine and the huge emigration that it spawned. Handball, athletics and amateur boxing were originally fostered by the GAA but as time went on athletics and boxing came to be managed by separate sporting bodies, and handball alleys across the country have been demolished and the hardcore used for bungalow building. Cultural and national revival was the Zeitgeist and the GAA a great driving engine.

  9. Gabby

    Shayna, I think you are forgetting the historical origins of the GAA in Thurles in 1884. It happened during a time of low national morale. The revival of ‘national games and pastimes’ became part of a general cultural revival following the calamity of the great famine and the huge emigration that it spawned. Handball, athletics and amateur boxing were originally fostered by the GAA but as time went on athletics and boxing came to be managed by separate sporting bodies, and handball alleys across the country have been demolished and the hardcore used for bungalow building. Cultural and national revival was the Zeitgeist and the GAA a great driving engine.

    1. Shayna

      @Gabby – ta. I didn’t forget. Have you got a copy of the The GAA Hand-book? I was merely quoting from it.

  10. Gay Tea Shop

    What’s the problem? The GAA have been sneaking regarders of post-natal abortion for decades – of anyone wearing a British Army uniform for example.

  11. Charlie

    Nothing like a priest, the amendment and the GAA to get the keyboard punters all excited.

  12. rotide

    Apart from clearly not having the slightest understanding of editing, what exactly is Eamon’s problem with a singing priest?

    Are all priests to be revieled based on the sins of a few?

    1. newsjustin

      We should hate all singing priests because of “progress” I think. This is [current year] after all.

    2. EK

      Wake up Rotide! There’s Rotide asleep in the back of the class again. Isn’t he a right eejit that Rotide? Look at him everyone? Half asleep, as usual. (I’m hoping this might ring some of your buried authoritarian bells Rotide.)

  13. painkiller

    So, the church had some hand in the 1983 proposal. WE voted in favour of the amendment at the time with the information we had – as a free people. From reading the posts here, there may be some underhand tactic to frame Repeal as the latest achievement in undoing the influence of the church in our country. It’s a tad dishonest when any moral individual would have their apprehensions around the rights of the unborn.

    And if the church held the orthodoxy back in the day, does replacing one orthodoxy with another constitute social progress? I was never too gone on the church telling me what to think but the emerging liberal orthodoxy is a cause for concern – presenting itself as moral arbiter while setting parameters for objective thought and whatnot.

    Either way, these things should not sway a vote.

    1. SOQ

      We have the absurd situation right now where some people get their children baptised only so that they can get into the local school. A school paid for out of general taxation, a state school if you like.

      And you think that there was not undue influence back in 1983? There is undue influence now let alone then.

      1. painkiller

        Absurd I agree and we don’t need the church influencing teaching appointments either but this isn’t really directly related to Repeal as far as I can see – unless you are trying a “Repeal by any means” type of angle. And this is what I suspect.

        1. SOQ

          No, by any means necessary is the anti choice motto if their posters are anything to go by.

          There is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out the correlation between the Catholic religion and extreme anti abortion views because even on bs, some are clearly concealing thier motives.

          1. painkiller

            I think you fail to see that both sides are engaging in less that honest arguments, allegiances and tactics. Like I said, this shouldn’t affect the way we vote, but it should be noted as subversive.

            Just because the Repeal side present themselves as the good, progressive side, doesn’t necessarily mean they are. I have an issue with this tactic.

            I just don’t understand what any of this has to do with the influence of the church in state schools etc.

            Extreme anti-abortion views would point to Symphysiotomy, and it would be fair to assume that relatively few would in favour of such a measure.

            Right now, we have a line in our constitution that places value on the unborn and we are being asked to take it out. It’s perfectly ok to for someone to argue some negative implications of doing this.

    2. EK

      The whole point of the article is that we weren’t a free people, we were indoctrinated via the education system by an authoritarian organisation that did untold damage to the culture, including the restrictions of the 8th amendment. The question is not about replacing orthodoxies. The question is defining the separation of Church and State by repealing the 8th amendment which, the article argues, was essentially smuggled in to the Constitution by an organisation which had established an unjust and abusive hold over the country.

  14. Ron Dolan

    Mickey-Joe should stick to the rapists and adult games and leave the referendum to the grown ups.

    And those with a vote.

  15. mickmick

    The arrogance and bitterness of the first six paragraphs really takes some beating. Let me guess Eamon, you’re one of the ‘adventurous spirits’ that left the ‘dull and lazy’ behind to emigrate and not become like your parents?? Just think, what kind of utopia would we all be living in if Eamon and his fellows had stayed to improve us? Sort of like a White Man’s Burden in reverse.

    I suspect you’re actually probably just like your parents and grandparents Eamon. As they may have blamed the Brits for all Ireland’s problems, you lay them at the feet of The Church and Dev. Time to grow up and recognise that maybe, just maybe, it was the will of the people to bring in the 8th. Just as the vote for Divorce and Gay marriage were the will of the people. Many atheists and agnostics are pro-life and many christians are pro-choice, maybe a conservative church is the result of a conservative people and not the other way around??

    1. EK

      Again, you’re misreading the piece. You regard my expression as “arrogant”. That is a purely authoritarian notion. Expression is a claiming of democratic power, and it is sorely needed in a country that was hammered into the ground by the authoritarian church. I don’t know if you’re being deliberately obtuse, but by conflating the result of the marriage equality referendum with the the referendum from the 1980’s and saying the two are equal expressions of a free people, you are sorely missing the point of the entire article, which, ironically, is that it is “time to grow up” and cut the final ties the church holds on the secular state. I suspect you didn’t read the article closely and were more concerned with having a go at the writer.

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