Dan Boyle: In Rod We Trust


From top Green Party’s Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration; Dan Boyle

Ten years ago, this week, I spoke in the Seanad on the Civil Partnership Bill (the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Bill, to give it its full title).

I argued that, as was the approach taken by dozens of other countries, it was stepping stone legislation that would see, within a number of years, the recognition and introduction of same sex marriage

I said it was another in a series of reforming pieces of legislation, that sought to redress the often backwards and repressive societal attitude in Ireland towards sex and sexuality, which itself sought to shame and discriminate against so many of our citizens.

Attitudes that were far different than those that existed on our island at the time of the Brehon laws.

Some Senators (led by Rónán Mullen) wanted to insert a conscience clause into the legislation, seeking to preserve the right to discriminate under the veil of religious belief. Having done Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ as part of my Leaving Cert, I thought it opportune to quote: “Thus Conscience does make cowards of us all.”

I also quoted John F. Kennedy who, in the course of his 1960 US presidential campaign, made a speech on how legislators should determine the common good outside of personal religious belief.

In that speech he said:

“I believe in a president whose religious views are his own private affair … and whose fulfilment of his presidential oath is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual or obligation … Whatever issue may come before me as president — on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject — I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates.”.

Outside of this small clique the Seanad was greatly in favour of the proposed bill. As I spoke David Norris and Ivana Bacik added their support. I was followed in the debate by the current Minister of Finance, Paschal Donohoe, who said some kind things about my speech.

In the public gallery was the person from the Green Party who had done the most work in bringing Civil Partnership to where it was. Yet to be elected to anything, his commitment and his mastery of detail was vital to bringing Civil Partnership into being.

He is now a member of cabinet. Roderic O’Gorman has become Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration. There, I am certain, he will bring an adherence to social justice that will deliver ever more reforming pieces of legislation.

It will undoubtedly be a challenging brief. Nor will it be without controversy. But in Roderic O’Gorman we will have as Minister someone who can point to having already contributed to significant social change in this country.

Within the Green Party his ability, his competence and commitment to social justice has long been known. In recent days he has endured something of a baptism of fire, but he will become stronger for that.

Those of us who know him have an in joke in relation to the affection in which he is held. Perhaps others will get to understand its meaning. It is “In Rod We Trust”.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator and serves as a Green Party councillor on Cork City Council. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle


12 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: In Rod We Trust

  1. bisted

    …so what you (and JFK) are saying is that, regardless of his personal beliefs, the minister will act in the national interest…which assumes that the greens are trustworthy in the first place…do you have any evidence for this assumption?

  2. gringo

    You can trust Rod to look after his own interests. Just like he has done up to now. Or will he be taken up with reinstating the Brehon Laws? Should fit in nicely with the rewilding.

  3. Denny

    Just a party of back stabbers
    Catherine martin has really showed her true colours and they ain’t green more yellow

  4. newsjustin

    Were Tatchell’s comments in his letter to the Guardian in 1997 wrong Dan?

    If Yes – why is your colleague delighted to hang out with an advocate of child abuse?

    If No – what points in the 1997 letter do you agree with?

    1. Do I need a username

      Oh yawn. Here we go again.

      Can we please not play the game where the alt right try to brand their enemies (who for some reason tend to be gay or trans – I wonder why?!) as paedophiles or paedophile apologists and people take it as reasonable concerns posed in good faith? Maintain your critical faculties people, c’mon.

      There are countless examples: Katherine Zappone had to put up with this, Colm O’Gorman had to put up with this from Farage’s childless ex-lap dog and take a quick look at Gemmaroids ravings, Maria Walsh had it. There is a clear trend.

      There is no way the guilt-by-association brigade would have expended such energy were we dealing with a straight man married with kids and a similar factual matrix. No way in hell.

      So Justin, we get it, you think ROG, Dan et al are easy on the paedos (to put it mildly)- and no, nothing will convince you otherwise. Most of us live in the real world and see the ham-fisted smear for what it was.

      I was quite impressed with Dan’s forthright comments to Ganley’s shill McJerk on Twitter though.

      1. newsjustin

        I actually don’t think that about Dan or Roderick.

        I do think it’s crystal clear that Tatchell has been an apologist for paedophilia. Anyone who can read English can see that. Thankfully he seems to have rolled back on this public stance, but he shouldn’t be allowed to forget it and , in my opinion, should be given a wide berth by people….especially Ministers for Children. It really isn’t rocket science.

        If you think the rules are different for Tatchell (or O’Gorman) because they happen to be gay, then you have must have a very poor opinion of gay people.

        1. Do I need a username

          Far from the rules being different if you are gay, the rules are worse. There are countless examples: Katherine Zappone had to put up with constant slurs for being childless and a lesbian. Nobody mentions anti-abortion campaigner Cora Sherlock is also childless. Colm O’Gorman as an adoptive parent had to put up the worst from Farage’s childless ex-lap dog and take a quick look at Gemmaroids ravings, also the insinuations around Maria Walsh, it goes on and on. There is a clear trend as I said, where if the person is gay, they are immediately sexualised.

          It takes literally seconds on Twitter to unearth the torrent of homophobia directed at ROG which some of more “reasonable” “public interest” persons like yourself present as “yes, there obviously was *some* homophobia, but, but, but…”

          It was a smear from which no reasonable explanation or apology or mea culpa by ROG would suffice for some. Why? Because he will always be held to a different standard. Or worse, for a few, the residual innuendo is that his nature is that he sees these things a little *differently*. I mean, the marriage referendum debates around gay couples parenting were hilarious: the criterion appeared to be that, for a gay couple to adopt/parent, gold-standard PhD in childcare required – no mistakes allowed ever – in contrast to that which applies to the rest of us, we do our best, get most things right but make a few mistakes along the way. I’m sure, as for most parenting, there are good and bad gay parents.

          In the sort of online febrile nincompoopery generated around ROG, as to be fair the instigators were the bungling alt shite, it is very difficult to see anything but nauseating malevolence, mala fides and the very antithesis of reasonable and genuine concern.

          So you see, glib go-to crutch phases like “it ain’t rocket science” doesn’t really cut-it.

          1. newsjustin

            I accept a lot of what you say. But not everything. Prime amongst those is: “It was a smear from which no reasonable explanation or apology or mea culpa by ROG would suffice for some.”

            There will always be some crazies. But ROG gave no explanation and no mea culpa for 5 days, a lifetime in politics. He failed to address it and his supporters pretended that he didn’t have to. When he finally did, most people moved on.

            It simply isn’t true that a straight person would not have had the same issue if they became Minister for Children. Tatchell is toxic.

          2. Do I need a username

            Personally, I think ROG did the right thing in terms of waiting although it doubtless took a toll on him. What those who initiated this smear and McJerk wanted (and where there is smear, shenanigans and bungled dirty tricks you’ll always find McJerk McLurking in the background) was precisely that – an immediate reaction to give them credence and allow a further ramping-up of their nauseating malevolence.

            At least by waiting, he allowed most of us to see what this was really all about.

            For most of the rest, including Tatchell, I agree with you save for the straight Minister for Children with the same factual matrix – there have been too many examples, where it is obvious a gay person is likely to encounter a harsher and different standard.

  5. bisted

    …far be it for me to defend Dan…but…Justine is the voice of the Vatican on Broadsheet…the last thing that Justine should be pontificating on is child abuse generally and paedophilia in particular…

    1. newsjustin

      Please point out where I’ve ever advocated for child abuse, or defended anyone who held that view.

      A lot of people here, and in other corners of Ireland seem to be intent on pardoning Tatchell for advocating for child abuse.

      I was going to ask, “what if the guy had been denying the holocaust?” But, honestly, what’s the point? He advocated for raping children ffs.

    2. Papi

      ‘Fraid so, Justin, if guilt by association is anything to go by, the Catholic church and yourself are willing bedfellows.

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