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25 years ago this week, I came back to Ireland from London to report the abuse I suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest to the Gardaí. An Ireland still dominated by the Church & other orthodoxies. Where the idea that the state should hold the church to account was unthinkable
An Ireland where women's rights and LGBT rights were denied on the basis that they were a threat to the moral order. Where we were told we were not capable of addressing such injustices...incapable of even talking about them.
Where when I called for a state investigation into sexual abuse by clerics, we were told that the state had no business investigating the church, that it would be unconstitutional (I kid you not!). We were told that church law was superior to the law of the state.
We were told what to think, how to behave, how to vote...what we could or could not discuss in the public sphere. An Ireland were we were never allowed to believe that real change would never be possible, never be permitted.
That is what has fundamentally changed. As the authority of the old orthodoxies have collapsed, we have seized ownership of the public sphere and of public discourse. We will no longer be told what we can speak about, hope for, bring into being.
In 2015 in the marriage referendum, we denied the old orthodoxies and made manifest an Ireland just waiting an opportunity to assert itself. We did that again in 2018 when we #repealedthe8th We denied those who told us we could not secure real, deep, powerful change.
We became a society which wants to break down old tribal orthodoxies which have not served more concerned about the issues which impact our lives than the empty tribalism of the past. Politics stopped being just some kind of game...
That is the lens through which the #GE2020 result needs to be examined. People voted on issues, housing in particular but also health, not on party lines. They voted for polices in those areas, esp housing, which they felt offered a way forward, which break with old dogmas.
And if those polices are not delivered, if they are abandoned or if they fail, people will vote differently next time. No party can take its support for granted anymore.
Everything has changed, utterly. A large section of the Irish electorate will now vote for policies ahead of parties. For policies which offer solutions and not just a determined, dogmatic repetition of ideology. And that is no bad thing.
Change takes a long time to happens on a continuum, and then we get moments where it manifests suddenly. #GE2020 is one of those moments - not because of who people voted for, but because of why they voted the way they did.
That change will have much greater impact beyond this election, whatever outcome it produces when it comes to the formation of a government. It is more a sign of change still to come, than of change which has just happened. #GE2020
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