Tag Archives: Justine McCarthy

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking during Leaders’ Questions last Wednesday

You may recall how last week Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced that, from July 2, lone parents who work more than 19 hours per week will lose their One Parent Family Payment when their youngest child turns seven. 

It’s been reported – and claimed by Fianna Fáil – that the measure will see up to 32,000 families see their income drop by €86 per week.

During Leaders’ Questions on Wednesday last, Mr Kenny told the Dáil:

“We need to transform what we are doing in getting people back into the world of work, including lone parents. Many of them have said to me that this is what they want to do.

Justine McCarthy wrote in yesterday’s Sunday Times:

During leaders’ questions last Wednesday, Enda Kenny, the taoiseach, reiterated that payments to lone parents will be cut from next July as an incentive to get them back to work. This is a policy loaded with erroneous presumptions. It insinuates that lone parents, the vast majority of whom are mothers, are lazy slobs who lie on their sofas all day, munching junk food and watching vacuous reality TV shows. It suggests the mothers themselves are to blame for being unemployed, and not the political class whose self-interested management of the country caused an economic and employment catastrophe.”

“Instead of beating mothers back to work with a big stick, the government ought to address the inequalities that skew the labour market against women. Females are the country’s most prolific academic achievers but they are appallingly under-represented on company boards and management floors. Women in Ireland are still paid 14% less than men, with 50% of women workers on €20,000 a year or less.

“At the same time, Irish childcare costs are the highest of 34 OECD countries. Two decades ago an incoming Fianna Fail-PD government undertook to address childcare costs. It did, by providing tax shelters for creche operators. If this government wants single parents to go to work, it should make the workplace fair. However, it’s simpler to impose a crude and draconian measure that will deprive many lone-parent families of up to €80 a week, with obvious ripple consequences for their children.”

Pic: National Women’s Council Of Ireland


Justine McCarthy, of The Sunday Times, addressing the Trailblazery ‘We Need To Talk About Ireland’ conference in March

In 1992, the judges of the Supreme Court heard evidence that Ms X, the pregnant 14-year-old girl, had told her mother she wanted to throw herself downstairs and had contemplated jumping in front of an oncoming train. Anti-abortion advocates have rubbished the court’s landmark judgment in the X case, on the grounds that it heard no expert psychiatric evidence. So what should the judges have done? Told the girl to get a grip, go home and give birth to her rapist’s baby? Medieval as it sounds, this is precisely what the Irish state will continue to tell rape victims after the current bill has passed into law. Should they attempt to terminate their pregnancies on Irish soil, they will be liable to arrest, trial and 14 years in prison.

Ms McCarthy in her Sunday Times column on June 30, 2013, before the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act was signed into law.

McCarthy: Abortion law should be decided by public, not politicians (Justine McCarthy, June 30, 2013, Sunday Times)

This weekend, as one of his predecessors is mourned, [Taoiseach Enda] Kenny should note how the encomiums to Albert Reynolds ring with tributes to his political courage. That personal quality helped deliver the 1993 Downing Street declaration and the IRA’s 1994 ceasefire, the early shoots of lasting peace on this island. Reynolds was the taoiseach for only 33 months but his guts won him an eternal place in history.

Kenny has demonstrated his own political valour. Now he has the opportunity to apply it to resolving an issue that has caused more than 150,000 females to sneak abroad for abortions since the 1983 referendum and that has caused others physical and psychological trauma, and even death. If he can bring an end to this 31-year horror, he too will have his place in history. More immediately, he could reap a reward in the next general election.

Ms McCarthy in her Sunday Times column (behind paywall) yesterday


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[Independent TD Mick Wallace ]

When Enda Kenny hailed the February 2011 general election as a “democratic revolution at the ballot box”, he was probably alluding to the virtual wipeout of Fianna Fail, not a style revolution. That’s what we got when Mick Wallace, Richard Boyd Barrett and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan rocked up for work as TDs. The establishment had paroxysm with fright. Pink polo shirts, bomber jackets, dangling plastic earrings, ponytails and blond dreadlocks were the arsenal of anarchy.

The reaction was reminiscent of the scorn poured on the late Tony Gregory when he took his seat as a Dublin Central independent – and refused to wear a tie. With such frivolity do anarchists change the world.

These independents have as much in common with the establishment’s crony circles as they have with Yves Saint Laurent. That is probably their strongest selling point. They were lucky that Kenny never needed them to form a government – it allowed them to remain outsiders. Their challenge now is not to become insiders in the new ‘normal’ they have created. By their clothes we may know them, but by their actions shall we judge them….”

Sunday Times’  Justine McCarthy From her column yesterday (available here behind paywall).

Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland


Journalist Justine McCarthy’s address to the Trailblazery ‘We Need To Talk About Ireland’ conference in the Round Room of The Mansion House, Dublin last weekend..

“It’s very hard to know how great we can possibly be unless we know how great we have been.

The first Irish people, Muintir Na hEireann, came here thousands of years ago from Africa. They were followed by The Celts, The Vikings and the English Planters. The inspiring Irish who send shivers down my spine are the farmers who tilled the Neolithic Ceide Fields in Mayo and the architects who built Newgrange ever before the Egyptians thought of building pyramids.

The momentum of 9,000 years a-growing ultimately exploded here in this haunting Round Room of Dublin’s Mansion House with the gathering of the first Dail Eireann.

On January 21st 1919, 29 revolutionary men and women met here and declared Ireland independent. They did it in 3 languages – Irish, English and French. The picture behind me is of that first Dail when they spoke these words…

“We solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland to be an invasion of our national right which we will never tolerate, and we demand the evacuation of our country by the English garrison”.

Less than three years later, 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties won self-determination under the Anglo Irish Treaty.

Today as we approach the centenary of the first Dail, it’s clear that somewhere along the way Ireland swapped one garrison for another, except this time the colonists came from amongst ourselves.

They were a political and business class who behaved as if they owned Ireland, carving it up between them for their own enrichment. They paid mere lip service to the Republic’s ideals of equality and fraternity. Where our forefathers had envisioned fairness, they fostered golden circles and feather-bedded cronyism.

Their rampage culminating in the surrender of Ireland’s economic sovereignty in November 2010.

As we staggered through the smoking ruins, the Catholic Church that had so dominated independent Ireland, was itself too crushed to help lead us through it. Revelations of how the Church had sheltered child-raping priests had rendered it, at best, morally neutered.

From the start, gombeen mé-feiners conspired with the Church to keep women in their place. The State’s founding fathers banished to Purdah the same women they had fought alongside for liberty. The total betrayal of our ancestors who gave their lives for our freedom bent us to near breaking point. But we did not break.

Our strength is each other, both on this island and everywhere else.

The Irish have long been wandering this earth. From our Atlantic-lashed little island, Irish missionaries, soldiers and humanitarian workers have travelled unimaginable journeys to spread goodness.

Their willingness to travel to the ends of the earth is a great legacy of our ancestors, so that today far away Australia has the highest per capita Irish descended population in the world.
And Bono can proclaim, with only a modicum of rock-star hyperbole, that the United States of America is actually an Irish colony.

It’s been a two-way street.

Once upon a time, a man called Mahatma Gandhi took inspiration from the peaceful protests of Michael Davitt’s Land League to win independence for his own India.

Nelson Mandela, who was conferred with the freedom of Dublin in this very Mansion House, took solace during his long imprisonment from the Dunnes Stores strike.

Daniel O’Connell’s struggle for Catholic emancipation impelled Frederick Douglass onward in his fight against American slavery. In turn, Douglass inspired Barack Obama – whose people hailed from Moneygall in the middle of Ireland – to become America’s first black President.

What goes around comes around, as they say. The world will not stop spinning on its axis and the Irish people will go on spinning with it, wherever we are on earth. From catastrophe… spring new beginnings. Perhaps now, at last… a terrible beauty really can be born.”


Yesterday: “ireland Is An Addict”

Full Trailblaze show here

Thanks Kathy Scott