In losing our religion we’ve finally found our soul

If we want this republic of ours to fulfil the aspirations we have for it, then we must look at ourselves


PLEA: Stand4Truth supporter Denise Clarke last Sunday. Photo: Caroline Quinnn
PLEA: Stand4Truth supporter Denise Clarke last Sunday. Photo: Caroline Quinnn

There have been a few occasions in recent years when the rest of the world looked at Ireland with a measure of confusion, even bemusement. When our country defied the expectations of those who might have imagined it was still a highly conservative society, where social discourse and politics are dictated by religious dogma.

In 2015, we became the first country in the world to vote to not just allow same-sex couples to marry, but to provide for that right in our Constitution. Then in May this year, by a landslide, we removed the clause in our Constitution that enforced a near total ban on abortion. And the world looked on, bemused.

I was centrally involved in both campaigns, and I remember the post-result interviews I did with international media who wanted to understand what had happened. How had Ireland, of all places, become this sudden light for progressive action in a world which so often appears to be heading in the opposite direction? Ireland. Catholic Ireland.

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