The Brandsma Review

Pro Vita, pro Ecclesia Dei et pro Hibernia – A journal of conservative Catholic opinion from Ireland

Issue 137, March-April 2014



LET’S LOOK at the biggies first. In the wake of the successful passage of the same-sex-“marriage” Amendment, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said we need to make a reality check. I want to respond to Dr Martin’s invitation all to reflect on the factors that led to the successful enactment of the same-sex-“marriage” Amendment.

My comments are dictated by democratic urgency.  By this I mean, there are loads of factors we could line up and scrutinise as having contributed to the result, but the main ones should come first because they are likely to come into play again, this time on pro-life issues, abortion for children where there is a diagnosis of a possible disability meaning they will only have a very short life and assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Indeed, before the echo of the first announcements of the referendum results had died out in the newsrooms, the ideological agendists on a plethora of different programmes, interviewers and interviewees alike, were calling for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, the pro-life amendment, were using the passage of the same-sex-“marriage”Amendment as proof that the time was ripe to move in for the kill on the abortion issue.

For example, RTÉ’s Morning Ireland had Labour’s Kathleen Lynch on to discuss the medical cards being issued to women who had been in the Magdalen Laundries, but the interviewer gave her a soft interview during which the two of them whiled away the time propagandising for more pro-abortion legislation.

There were lots of factors but the big ones need to be called out first because until they are, the same groundplan will be re-run to bulldoze through legislation legalising euthanasia and wider abortion, and repealing Article 40.3.3’s equal protection for the right to life of the mother and the unborn child.

We need to look at the biggies first, the herd of elephants in the room of this referendum campaign.

The big bucks stopped here

25,000,000 reasons the same-sex-marriageAmendment was passed

Irish Times journalist and Iona Institute board member, Breda O’Brien, wrote the breakthrough article of the whole campaign. She revealed that huge amounts of money poured into Ireland to finance groups pushing the same-sex-“marriage” legislation and social policy agenda. And she ended that article by asking whether the money would buy the referendum. Now we know. It did.

So the first lesson of our thumbnail reality check of how the campaign went the way it did is a reality cheque. The activist groups were bank-rolled from the US by Atlantic Philanthropies.

In his searching and searing article in The Sunday Business Post on 24th May, Tom McGurk pinpointed the big issues raised by the way the Yes campaign was powered by Atlantic Philanthropies’ millions—does philanthropy now extend to attempting to change Irish social policy and the Irish Constitution?

Did this intervention to directly help the organisations fighting for an internal and ostensibly citizen-based decision–which is what a referendum is in law and practice—not constitute a serious impediment to Irish democracy? Should it not have been questioned by officials and servants of the state?

Referring back to the US group’s website, McGurk notes that Atlantic Philanthropies “claims that it was previously instrumental in winning the Children’s Rights referendum”

He asks: Who can now dispute that the existence of these payments, with the support and agreement of the Taoiseach and his ministers, threatened the sovereignty of the state and raised many serious questions.

He gives an example:

the Human Rights and Equality Commission–which recently got $2,000,000 from Atlantic Philanthropies–incorrectly informed the government that there was a right to same-sex marriage under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Looking at the posters put up by the different political parties and the language used by the media throughout the campaign, it was straight, if you’ll excuse that phrase, from the agendists’ playbook. It was their language that determined the way the overwhelming majority of the debate was framed and couched–marriage equality, and nothing more.

Some say money speaks—the reality is that at first it whispers creeping along the corridors of power, and when it has bought its way into the minds of the people who call the shots, it starts shouting, shaping social policy, political language, and eventually, as we have just seen, the way a referendum is couched and sold by the Government.

The big lie

The Government and the political parties pretended the wording had no wider effects beyond allowing gay people to marry and the media didn’t expose them for peddling this untruth

The second reason the Yes campaign succeeded twofold, was that their case was based on a big lie and the media opted overwhelmingly not to expose this lie. Those on the No side were only given marginal media access and under relentless negative interviewing and characterisation. What was the big lie? It was that the proposed Amendment wording was solely and exclusively about equality and love and had nothing whatsoever to do with surrogacy or children, and would not have any negative effects on the legal protection heretofore afforded to marriage between a man and a woman as the natural institution on which the family was based, and the natural place where children should be born and reared.

I’m going to give you Tom McGurk’s analysis of the wording, in case you might think that I was going beyond the evidence in calling the Government’s and the political parties’ line of support for the same-sex- “marriage” Amendment ‘the big lie’.

He puts it this way: From day one this referendum was extraordinarily ambitious. It was designed, not just to bring about gay marriage, but, because of the particular method chosen,to utterly transform Irish society in the process. There was also a determined effort to carefully disguise that it was doing do in the first place.

So the actual wording of the Amendment would, in reality, do two things, have two effects, but the Government and the political parties, and the activists, all denied this. It was a giant lie. McGurk makes it crystal clear what he means:

Despite the furious denials from the Yes camp, the path the government took through the Family articles in the Constitution was inevitably going to unleash wider concerns about matters of gender, parentage, biological linkages and methods of human procreation.

The “only nine little words in the Constitution” was as brazen an act of public deception as I have ever seen attempted.

The official referendum line as “just a simple attempt to make all our citizens equal” and the extraordinary insistence that “it had nothing to do with children” were simply risible.

His conclusion: Clearly, traditional concepts of marriage and family–centuries old and preceding All religious imperatives–were being turned on their heads. Yet the government’s line was still insisting “there’s nothing much to see here, move along please.”

The next big things

So, what do you need to swing a referendum? Three things really, lots of money, a big lie that all the main players in the political game sign up to and a compliant media that the politicians can be sure won’t exact a cost from them for supporting the proposal.

In fact, it’s really the other way round–at this stage, the media are the source of the ideology and of the blurred language needed to peddle it, and the politicians are left in no doubt that to cross the media, to fail to sign up for whatever the cause du jour happens to be is political suicide.

The abortion law was a dramatic example of this ideological synergy–the Government itself convoked and held not one but two sets of public Joint Oireachtas Committee Hearings, and the expert medical and psychiatric evidence which emerged undermined, point by point, every element of the Government’s rationale for the law that they had decided on before they held the hearings.

But they could rest assured that they would suffer no political penalty for ignoring the evidence, because the media did not call them to account.

There were no hard questions from RTE’s Prime Time.

When you’re pushing abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, you get a free run from the Irish media.

Their success in getting the abortion law through in the face of the evidence has made them all more brazen. Like the Terminator in the first movie, they keep right on robotically pushing legislation for killing.

That’s why the misconduct of the same-sex marriage referendum is so serious. I’ll give Tom McGurk the last word:

And there’s another important question arising next. If other referendums down the road are to involve controversial matters like abortion, euthanasia, etc, will such amounts of foreign financial input be allowed? If it’s not legally permissible in Dáil elections, why is it all right when changes are proposed for our Constitution?

Dr Joe McCarroll is Chairman of the Pro-Life Campaign

Also in this issue:

EDITORIAL: Quo Vadis Hibernia? To Sodom and Gomorrah

How to Make a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear


Dr Joseph McCarroll


Dr Joe Sampson


Dr Éanna Johnson


Rev. Roland Colhoun


Mel Cormican


Joe Aston


Peadar Laighléis

From the Editor’s Desk comes ‘Apologies’, and ‘A New Initiative’; Letters to the Editor from Kieron Wood, Catherine Lloyd and Rev Anthony Scully; Hibernia Hibernici reflects on ‘Two Referenda’; and Hurling Shots includes ‘Who am I to judge?’, and ‘What happens next?’


One comment on “Issue 137, March-April 2014

  1. Dermot R. Ellard
    July 7, 2016

    For Enda Kenny and the his coalition government the issue was not marriage. It was a power struggle between State and religion. The end result desired by our political representatives is State control over religion. In effect to create a State religion where power resides in the Dail. This will the same as the Church of England where the Westminster Parliament has the final control. The Freedom of religion Article as stated in Bunreacht na hEireann [The Constitution] will be the target of amendment or deletion a few years down the road. The next battleground in this power struggle will be the Abortion and Educational articles.

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This entry was posted on August 5, 2015 by in Issues 2014.
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