ANOTHER SHOCKING STATE ATTACK ON THE RIGHTS OF A WOMAN BRINGS DEMONSTRATORS ON TO THE STREETS

A suicidal woman refused an abortion, is then force-fed to preserve her embryo which is later delivered at 25 weeks by caesarian section.

Diarmuid Breatnach

A woman considered suicidal by a medical panel was recently refused an abortion in Ireland and was subsequently force-fed. Within days a call was made for a protest demonstration and was answered by a substantial number in Dublin on Wednesday night last. The protestors filled the central section of O’Connell Street from the Spire to the Larkin monument and also spilled out into the road. Numbers of protestors took up station on the pavement fronting the GPO. A weekend demonstration was also convened in Dublin and another in Cork.0

Protest Caesarian etc rally 20Aug2014

Protesters in Dublin on Wednesday evening denouncing the treatment of the woman refused an abortion and force-fed. They called for the repeal of the Eight Amendment to the Irish Constitution.  (photo D. Breatnach)

The pregnant young woman, apparently under 18 years of age, was a migrant, who sought an abortion in Ireland. Some media reports say that her pregnancy arose as a result of a rape in her native country prior to her travelling to Ireland. Not all the details are clear but it seems that an Irish advice centre gave her the necessary information to travel to Britain to receive an abortion but that she was unable to afford it (there is also some question about her immigration or asylum status should she wish to reenter Ireland). It seems she then became depressed, not surprisingly, and expressed suicidal ideation. Under the Right to Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, introduced following the “X” case, a woman is entitled to receive an abortion if carrying the foetus should result in a substantial risk to her life – suicidal ideation being one of of those risks.

In accordance with the 2013 Act the young woman’s case was reviewed by a panel, consisting of two psychologists and an obstetrician. According to reporting in the mass media, the psychologists agreed that she was suicidal and that she she should therefore have the termination. The obstetrician apparently agreed that she was suicidal but argued that in a short while (two weeks has been mentioned), a caesarian could be carried out and a baby delivered alive and viable. Since the Act requires the unanimous concurrence of all three members of the panel, the young woman was refused an abortion.

It seems the woman became further depressed and stopped eating, whereupon lawyers for the hospital went to the High Court to obtain a court order permitting the woman to be force-fed, which procedure was carried out (probably intravenously). The woman is said to have subsequently agreed to a caesarian section by which method a baby was delivered. The fate of the woman is not in the public domain at this time but the baby was reportedly delivered alive and well after 25 weeks in the womb.

A number of speakers at the rally made the point that “here we are again”, i.e. that the lack of the necessary legislation has led to another case of terrible mistreatment of a young woman, a reference to other cases of refusal of abortion that have become scandals and lead to demonstrations such as about the death of Sadita Halappanavar in 2012 and the “X” case in 1992.

At the rally, all the speakers, campaigners and providers of services and a male doctor from Doctors for Choice, called for a referendum to repeal Amendment Eight of the Bunreacht (Irish Constitution). This is the amendment passed in 1983 in order to prevent abortion becoming legal. Some very telling points were made, one speaker saying that no-one in Ireland but a pregnant woman would be force-fed or bullied into submitting to an invasive surgical operation. Perhaps we cannot say that none of those things would ever happen to anyone else but it is certainly true that only in the case of a pregnant woman would that combination of coercive and intrusive procedures, clearly in violation of the Hippocratic Oath, have been considered so readily and applied in conjunction. That the woman was a migrant probably made it easier for the authorities but it is the legal position on abortion in Ireland and its moral underpinning which reduces the pregnant woman to the status of some kind of living vessel, the status of the unborn foetus being higher than that of the mother.

Men’s place in the movement

Breaking from the general trend at the rally, one of the speakers addressed many of her remarks specifically at the males present there in support. She told them “they should know their place” and that they had no right to express any opinion on the issue except to support the women. Some women applauded her and some did not.

Drs for Choice 23Aug2014 AF

On the Dublin march for the repeal of the 8th Amendment on Saturday. This banner was also present at the Wednesday protest rally where one of their representatives spoke. (photo Andrew Flood)

Since variations of this view have emerged quite frequently, including the view that it’s a women’s issue or that men should just follow the opinion of women in the movement, it is worth examining this a little further. The current situation on abortion in Ireland of course impacts in the first place on women but it does not affect them only. An unwanted pregnancy, especially at an early age or stage in a relationship can force decisions that may later be regretted, including marriage or abandonment. Raising a child from what was an unwanted pregnancy has long-term social and economic implications, not just for the mother but for a much wider circle – as well as for the child growing up in society. The existence of legislation on abortion and its repeal is in the realm of criminal law — but above all it is a social issue, one affecting society. The provision of abortion is also a medical and social question: medical and social structures and services will need to be put in place, funded, monitored and its practitioners trained. Therefore all of adult society has a right to a voice on it. To call on a section of society to be mute supporters is to treat them as voting fodder and should not be supported by any genuinely democratic person.

Pro-Choice that W not incubators

Man on the Dublin march for repeal of the 8th Amendment (photo Andrew Flood)

Also, if men, because they are not after all going to be the ones being impregnated and bearing children, should not have a voice but should only support women, which women’s opinions should they support? Why not support the many women who are totally against abortion? And even if supporting women who are for greater access to abortion, which section of opinion about which degree of access should men support?

Clearly men have to think about these issues to come to decisions. Are they to think silently, expressing no opinion and discussing with no-one, and then be expected to develop rational opinions to inform their actions and, in the case of a referendum, their voting too? Clearly the expectations expressed in such calls or statements are not only undemocratic but unrealistic too. Men not only have the right to express opinions on these issues but need to be able to do so in order to have the discussions that make it possible for them to make rational choices.

The attitude of the state and a referendum

The Dublin pro-choice demonstration on Saturday, according to observers, matched the numbers at the anti-abortion demonstration in the city on the same day – about seven hundred. The pro-choice demonstration took an unusual route from O’Connell Street and became the third demonstration to cross the Rosie Hackett Bridge (opened in May this year). The Bridge is the only one in Dublin named after a woman and Rosie was a trade union militant active in the Dublin Lockout of 1913, as well as taking part in the 1916 Rising as a member of the Irish Citizen Army. The demonstration rallied just across the river at the Department of Health in Hawkins Street (the Department under which the young woman had been refused an abortion and force-fed) and then went on to demonstrate at the Dáil (the Irish parliament).

ProChoice DeptHealth 23Aug2014 AF

Speaker addresses the crowd in Hawkins Street, outside the Department of Justice — Rosie Hackett Bridge is to the far right of the photo. (photo Andrew Flood)

Some supporters of a change in the law have presented the issue as though it is essential to the State and to the Catholic Church, two institutions closely linked, to control women’s bodies through refusing access to abortion, free and on demand. I do not think it is so. Certainly those forces may want to control women’s bodies (and indeed, men and women’s minds) but such control is not essential for the continued existence of the State. Many capitalist countries have either easy access to abortion or much more liberal laws than has the 26-County state. This state can afford to give that right but that does not mean that it will. When a state is able to give something but does not want to, sufficient force must be mobilised in order to convince it that yielding will cost it less than denying. Substantial pressure will need to be brought to bear on the State so that it agrees to holding a referendum.

But having a referendum does not mean that the correct and necessary outcome will be the result. We have had referenda in which the side of progress and justice was successful but also those in which it was not. The present Amendment Eight to the Bunreacht (Constitution), which the movement seeks to repeal, was the result of a referendum.

Yes, true, that was 30 years ago and opinions have changed since. In recent years, opinion surveys have shown a majority in favour of some relaxation of the law. Also, two legislative attempts to tighten restrictions on access to abortion, in 1992 and 2002, failed. On the other hand, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments, both in 1992, were successful in loosening the ban, establishing the right of a pregnant woman to travel, even if to obtain an abortion, and to be given information about abortions services abroad. However, although the numbers in favour of unfettered access to abortion have grown substantially they do not yet constitute a majority.

According to analysts of the socio-economic background of respondents to the questionnaire, the indication is that the areas of greatest resistance are among a section of the middle class and a section of the working class. That particular section of the middle class is one of generally right-wing views and not amenable to change. Besides, they have the economic resources to lessen the chances of unwanted pregnancies including, despite their ideological position against it, to send their pregnant daughters quietly to Britain, having them return after a brief holiday without the neighbours being any the wiser. Or for a wife to go on a weekend visit to a friend in Britain even without her husband knowing the real reason for the trip.

The working class is in a different situation. High social and economic deprivation in Western countries tends to be accompanied by a higher degree of unplanned pregnancies and single parenthood than is the case with other socio-economic groups. Most working class families would also struggle to find the funds to send a family member to Britain (or to the Netherlands, apparently a new trend) to have an abortion, usually accompanied by at least one friend or family member, paying for travel, accommodation and the procedure itself. And the level of care is likely to be at the lower end of the scale. Of course many, many families and friend groups do manage it somehow.

The working class has a vested interest in this reform and this is recognised among some sections of the class but not in others. Traditional obedience to the Church has broken down in many areas, for example in ideas about sex before marriage and in using barriers to impregnation. However, the opposition to abortion remains, for many, a line not to be crossed. If a referendum is to be forced from the State and, in particular if the outcome is to be such as needed, a change in the outlook of at least a substantial section of this class needs to be achieved. Most working class people outside the immediate circles of the pro-choice movement tend not to see any campaigning on the issue except after such scandals hit the headlines – then a flare-up is briefly visible until things die down again.

The pro-choice movement will need to get out on to the streets and into communities on a regular basis if it is to win. I think it also needs to counter the work of the anti-choice propagandists, particularly those who put up their stalls in public areas or picket information centres. In discussion with some activists in the pro-choice movement, they say they do these things to some degree but don’t have the numbers of activists needed to do it more regularly. I confess that I find it hard to believe that in Dublin, for example, the movement is incapable through lack of activists to put a stall – indeed a number of stalls in different areas – on the street at least once a month. Some of those in the movement have been campaigning for decades and others for many years – and yet, as so many of their speakers said on Wednesday night in O’Connell Street, “here we are again”, responding to another fatal tragedy or shocking violation of human and civil rights.

Front Rally Repeal 8th 23Aug2014

Front of the march on Saturday in Dublin (photo Andrew Flood)

Facebook organising and networking by pro-choice campaigning groups can produce quick mobilisation of substantial numbers of people. These people are already convinced. Most of the working class remains untouched by these mobilisations and certainly their overall outlook remains unchanged. If the pro-choice movement is to have its desires become reality, it needs to get out into the working class communities and promote its cause, hopefully recruiting from among those communities to better carry the message among their own. The movement needs to engage in dialogue with movements with a high percentage of people of working class background, such as – dare one say it? — the Irish Republican movement. The latter is, despite one very deep idealogical divide and the existence of a number of factions, the political opposition movement with the largest active participation of people of working class background. At the moment, the overall position of the movement is anti-choice but that is nowhere near as monolithic or as unassailable as it was even a decade ago.

The hope is that the necessary mobilisation will be done and that very soon the State will be forced to concede a referendum on the abolition of Amendment Eight. The hope is also that the necessary educational work will be done to achieve an overwhelming victory in that referendum. The activists in the movement need our support, men as well as women, in all of that.

End.

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THROUGH RAIN, WIND, LOYALIST ABUSE AND MISSILES — MARCHING AGAINST INTERNMENT

Diarmuid Breatnach

The crowd stood in the rain and gusting wind in Ardoyne, Belfast. In front of them, the gable end of a house shrouded in black. The crowd was dotted with uniforms of the various Republican marching flute-and-drum bands from Scotland, some green and some black. Irish Tricolour flags fluttered and here and there the Starry Plough and the Palestinian flag was in evidence, including above the shrouded mural.

After what seemed like a long wait, the MC, life-long Republican activist Martin Óg Meehan, called forward those who had commissioned the mural, the Independent Principled Ex-POWs group; around thirty of them, all dressed in black, carrying a banner with their group name on it, they formed a kind of honour guard during the ceremony. As indicated by its name, this is a collective aligned to no political party or group; it was established earlier this year by North Belfast Republican ex-prisoners.

Then after a short dedication speech, the shroud was pulled down to unveil the newest Republican mural in Belfast, which is surely Ireland’s city of murals (certainly of political murals). The centre-piece was a section of The Rythm of Time poem, written by Republican prisoner and hunger-striker to the death, Bobby Sands; around that central piece a number of panels depicted scenes from the struggles of Republican prisoners from the 1970s onwards. A special mention was made of the families and relatives of Republican prisoners, those who bore much of the brunt of the system that encarcerated their loved ones. One of the Scottish bands was then called to play The Soldiers’ Song, the Irish national anthem written and composed by two Republicans and which had been sung by some of the insurgents during the 1916 Rising against British colonial rule.

Section of the Anti-internment march in Belfast 10th August 2014

Section of the Anti-internment march in Belfast 10th August 2014– The Dublin Committee banner is the high narrow blue one behind the marching band.

Some time after this ceremony, the primary purpose of the day was attended to as people assembled for the march against internment organised by the Irish Anti-Internment League. The British colonial statelet abandoned internment without trial after four-and-a-half years in 1975 but since then has been finding other means to remove its active political opponents from the streets. Some ex-prisoners who were released under Temporary Licence as part of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 have been returned to jail without charge, trial or right of appeal. Others have been faced with ridiculous charges — of in some way “assisting terrorism” — and jailed while awaiting trial; when eventually found not guilty, they have nevertheless already spent between one and two years in jail. Still others, after periods in jail awaiting trial, are being found “guilty” on highly suspect evidence in the special courts and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment (some of these too have eventually been released on appeal against conviction).

After outlining the order of march, Dee Fennel warned the participants that Loyalists had gathered in the city centre on the route of the march to oppose us. Dee urged us to obey the stewards and not to permit ourselves to be provoked into responding to Loyalist provocation. “The law is on our side, for a change,” he stated, meaning that permission for the parade had been applied for and granted, so that the police, if carrying out their duty, had to prevent others from attacking or obstructing us.

The march was headed by the prisoners’ relatives group and followed in sequence by the Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaign, Wolfe Tone RFB (Republican Flute Band), Anti-Internment Group of Ireland (including the Dublin Anti-Internment Committee), Independent Principled Ex-POWs, Parkhead RFB, IRPWA, Vol.s Patricia Black and Frank Ryan RFB, Cabhair, Vol. John Brady RFB, Cógus, Erin Go Bragh RFB, Éirigí, 32 CSM plus other groups bringing up the rear. The Vol. John Brady band is from Strabane but all the rest are from Scotland: two from Glasgow and the Wolfe Tone and Erin Go Bragh bands from North Lanarkshire.

We worked our way down from Ardoyne in driving rain and strong gusts of wind, through the streets in twists and turns towards the city centre. Along the route we noted occasional Palestinian flags hanging from windows of people’s homes and from some flats in tower blocks. As we turned into Donegal Street coming in from the east and heading for Victoria Street, what sounded like a bestial howl arose ahead of us – the Loyalist mob had sighted the relatives’ group leading the march. There we halted for what seemed a long delay, while our march organisers brought the stewards up to the front. Tension mounted, the worse for the wait and not being able to see what lay ahead. Then the march started forward again.

The howls grew louder and then we could see the Loyalists, about 400, many waving Union Jack flags, straining against yellow-jacketed PSNI, the British colonial police, who faced them. Then a line of colonial police in full black riot gear, including shields, facing us (!). Between us and them stood a line of our stewards, their backs to the police and to the Loyalists. A number of police were videoing the marchers, intelligence-gathering, but I saw only one filming the Loyalists.

Two loud fireworks exploded fairly close ahead, presumably aimed at the relatives or the colour party of the band. The storm of abuse was so loud and varied that it was hard to make out any actual words. On video recordings one can hear us being called “baby killers” and – no doubt totally unconscious of the irony — calls in support of Israel! This last no doubt a response to a number of Palestinian flags showing among the marchers.

In front of our contingent, the Wolfe Tone RPF band marched without playing but to a steady rap …. rap … rap …. of the side-drums. One of the mature members of the band called out some words of encouragement to the younger members and, in time, began to call out “clé …. clé …. clé, deas, clé …” (“left … left … left, right, left …”). Behind me in the crowd, somebody began to shout “the I … the I … the I, R, A” in response to the Loyalists.

By now other missiles were flying from the Loyalist crowd and, not surprisingly to us, the police seemed to be making no effort to arrest the perpetrators. I saw a plastic bottle full of water land ahead – a marcher picked it up and threw it back; an orange or red umbrella landed among the marching band and a tall bass drummer stooped, picked it up and threw it back almost without looking and without breaking stride …. Some police struggled with a very large Loyalist woman, her face contorted in rage, as she tried to break through to attack us. Those of us carrying the Dublin Committee banner brought it to flank between a section of the band and the Loyalist missiles while one continued to film the event. One of our contingent was struck on the head by a flying object but continued to march. Another firework exploded somewhere behind. The band continued marching, facing forward …. clé …. clé …. clé, deas, clé …

In a short enough time (though it seems longer watching the video later), our section of the march had passed the hostile mob but the roaring continued, aimed at the marchers coming behind us. On the main road heading up to the Falls Road, a fierce gust of wind caught us – we failed to lower the banner quickly enough and one of the bamboo poles snapped. We carried our banner the rest of the way, on up the Falls Road, past the Cultúrlann, then past Milltown Cemetery.

As we approached the Felons’ Club, stronghold of Provisional Sinn Féin, the band began to play “Take It Down from the Mast”, a Republican song from the 1930s castigating Republicans who had abandoned the path of fighting for independence. Originally the lyrics had been aimed at the Irish Free State government, then at the Fianna Fáil party; since then they have been thrown in turn at Official Sinn Féin, the Workers’ Party and now, at Provisional Sinn Féin. After Fianna Fáil, each party had sung the lyrics at those considered traitors before them, only for each to become, in turn, the target themselves.

Take it down from the mast, Irish traitors,

It’s the flag we Republicans claim;

It can never belong to Free Staters,

For you’ve brought on it nothing but shame.”

As we passed the Felons’ Club, a number of their patrons leaned on the rail watching us go past. I wondered what they thought and felt. Before 1998, presumably it would have been them participating in the march – perhaps even having organised it. What did they think of a march for civil and human rights in their heartland of which they were not a part? Of 5,000 demonstrators marching in driving wind and rain on an issue around which PSF no longer organises? An issue, in fact, which they find threatening, now that they are part of the colonial administration … This is perhaps the reason for their dismissal of those independent Republicans and groups they call “dissidents” and “micro-groups” who, they say, “have no programme”. No doubt they are aware that it is a long time since Provisional Sinn Féin were able to mobilise 5,000 people to march on any issue.

The march came to an end at the Andersonstown shopping centre, the participants to be congratulated by Dee Fennel; we stood to one side, applauding the soaked marching bands as each one passed us. A couple of speakers were announced but, too cold and wet, some of us decamped to our coach, which had been summoned to meet us nearby. There we found that our thermos flasks of coffee and tea had fallen inside the coach and that the linings had smashed – so no hot drink for us.

When all our Dublin party were at last aboard and some had changed into dry clothes, we headed back up the Falls Road in search of food. Some of us were annoyed to find the Cultúrlann, in the restaurant of which we had looked forward to a cooked meal, closed and had to be content with a Chinese take-away for some hot food at last. Then back to Dublin; in our own city, our publicity and organising work as an anti-internment committee awaited us, as well as whatever other political work we might undertake as individuals or as members of other groups.

End.

Links to videos and photos:

Video of many of the participants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V8ZbUPbY5Q#t=782

Short video as Dublin Committee approaches and passes Loyalist demonstration (available only on Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=682736298478617&set=vb.100002267588752&type=3

Additional information:
IRPWA is the Irish Republican Prisoner Welfare Association and is linked to the 32-County Sovereignty Movement and campaigns for political prisoners.

Cabhair is an Irish Republican prisoner welfare and campaigning organisation linked to Republican Sinn Féin.

Cógus is also an Irish Republican prisoner campaigning and welfare organisation and linked to the Republican Network for Unity.

The Anti-Internment League and the Anti-Internment Committee of Ireland are campaigning groups independent of any political party or organisation.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?

Diarmuid Breatnach 

Lorna was nervous but tried not to show it – especially to Kevin. He drove competently and seemed unaware of her tension. Of course she had known for months it would come to this. There had to be an end to the hiding some day. And now she was going to have to present him to her parents. She shuddered …. or thought she had; thankfully, Kevin hadn’t noticed.

They passed a small wood in a hollow, the trees still wearing their autumn leaves but some already lying on the road, jewels of yellows, oranges and reds, mixed with green, glittering with the wet of a recent shower. In that wood one summer, in her teens, a picnic and a boy, hands trembling exploring, fast-beating heart, her virginity gladly given. at The memory sparked a little arousal; she looked out the passenger window in case it showed in her face. Kevin could be very perceptive …. often just when she didn’t want him to be.

As they drove through the Sligo village she remembered so well from her childhood and teens, she began surreptitiously to do her breathing exercises. Approaching the side road, she had a sudden impulse to say nothing, to just keep going. “Left ahead,” she said instead. And, a little further, “Turn right there, Kevin. Right … that’s the house.”

Slightly uphill from the parking space, the path ran up to and curved along the house to the front door. The house, traditionally whitewashed and, with the exception of the conservatory added to the end, pretty traditional in appearance too. The treetops, grown taller, visible behind the roof, the fuschia bushes growing along the path and the cotoneaster hugging the house wall. Bel, kept inside the house so as not to frighten the expected visitor, barking an intruder warning.

The engine switched off, Kevin looking at the house, then at her. “Looks lovely”, he said and sounded as though he meant it. She turned to him, smiling brightly: “Get the bags, will you? Do the traditional male thing. I’ll carry the wine and the flowers.”

He kissed her quickly, grinned and got out of the car, leaving her free to do her breathing exercises unobserved. In …. hold, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five …..

Walking up the path, Bel barking madly now, hearing the crunch of gravel. As Lorna got near the door, she called out to the dog. The barking stopped a second at voice recognition, then started again – welcoming this time. The outer door opened, her father there, the skin around his eyes crinkling as he smiled. A hug, careful with the flowers, and a “Fáilte abhaile, a stór.” Then the appraising look at Kevin, the hand stretched out: “And to you too, young man.”

Her father turned and opened the inner door. There was her mother, holding Bel back by his collar as he whined and wriggled, his tail whipping from side to side. Lorna put the flowers and wine on the table and went to the dog, giving him her hand and, while he lathered it with his saliva, hugged her mother cautiously. Then she took the dog to introduce him to Kevin. Of course Bel could smell her on the stranger and that made the introductions easier.

After the greetings, matters proceeded through stages – coffee and tea and biscuits, inquiries about the journey, traffic and road surfaces, comments on the weather, a little local news, as Bel gazed at Lorna and thumped his tail from time to time, her mother jumping up regularly to check on the cooking, the aroma growing around them.

And so to dinner, the table set with the best delf and cutlery, grace said by her mother; Kevin, her atheist lover bowing his head respectfully and agnostic Lorna chiming “Amen” at the end. The dinner delicious of course and greatly enjoyed by Kevin, her father appreciating the Rioja selected by Kevin and brought with them, the flowers they had brought now with some fern leaves picked by her mother, making a nice display in the vase in the window, the westering sun filling the dining area with gorgeous light. The conversation flowed around her job, Kevin’s, Lorna’s parents’ farm, the local area …. It was all going so well. Lorna wasn’t fooled for a moment.

A little after dessert, her father stood up. “Come now, Kevin …. I’ll show you around a little of our wee farm. We have to walk a little of that dinner off.”

Kevin got up eagerly, then hesitated, glancing towards Lorna. “You can do the washing up tomorrow, Kevin,” she smiled. “Go on, while there’s still light to see.”

The two most important men in her life walked out the back door, Bel eagerly escorting them, her father putting his cap on his balding head and picking up his ash stick on the way.

The men’s voices faded and the women turned to meet one another’s eyes, then quickly down to the table, going about their shared tasks with the ease of custom, of practice thousands of times through the years …. and the tension slowly building while desultory conversation centred around the tasks. Then, so soon, all the washing-up done and rinsed, their hands dried and the kettle on the ring for tea. Her mother turned to her and said: “He seems very nice.”  

“He is”, she replied, knowing it was an opening shot.  “I’m serious about him,” she added, as though this were not obvious, the first of her lovers down through the years that she had ever brought to meet her parents.  She was hoping to head off the barrage.

But Lorna, how could you! Of all the fine men you could have had!”

He is a fine man. I already told you he’s black but I didn’t think …”


“Lorna Patricia, you wash your mouth out this minute! You know very well that neither your father nor I are racist.”

But it’s different when your daughter wants to marry one, is that it? ‘We’re not racist but …’ ”

No, Lorna, it has nothing to do with that – we’re not bothered by the colour of his skin …. that’s not it all.”

Then what is it? Is it because he’s not a Catholic, then? Because, as I think you know, I’m not much of a one myself!”


“That’s not it at all, Lorna. That’s between you and God …. and between Kevin and God. That’s what He gave you free will for.”

Then what on earth is all this about? What’s wrong with him?”

 

“Oh Lorna, do you really not know? Can you not see?” Her mother’s voice rising in a wail.

No … no, I can’t. See what? What’s wrong?”

 

“He’s from Dublin, Lorna. Dublin! He’s a jackeen!”

End