Home > Irish politics, LGBT > Stags and civil partnerships

Stags and civil partnerships

From members of both government parties, I found something depressing about the stances they adopted on the Wildlife Bill. On the part of the Greens, given all they have agreed to since going into government, was this so much more important than taking a stance against NAMA or the continued aid to Anglo-Irish, or other such issues, to take the example of cystic fibrosis mentioned by Prof. Brian Lucey in a letter to Saturday’s Times? Equally, on the part of backbench Fianna Fáil TDs, what made protecting this hunt so much more of a cause to speak up and question government policy than many other issues, as Vincent Browne argued yesterday in the same paper. It is because of their priorities on issues like this that I would feel that the Greens are not the ideal coalition partner during an economic, fiscal and banking crisis.

But because of a bill will pass its final vote in the Dáil later today, despite all that, at the next general election, I will cast my fourth preference, after the likely three Fine Gael candidates, for the Green Party, such as it will remain in Wicklow. After reading David Quinn in the Independent on Friday and Breda O’Brien in the Times on Saturday, I warmed more to the Greens. There are many other issues which I would disagree with them on, such as on GM food, touched on by Quinn. But on certain cultural issues, I stand where they do. What sort of mentality is to describe John Gormley’s of the Roman Catholic Church’s contribution to the debate on civil partnership as “kicking an institution when it is down”, as O’Brien does? Badly phrased on Gormley’s part, a church has as much right as I do to comment in the public sphere, but while the institution still exercises the influence on curriculum in more than 90% of primary schools, and while those in the hierarchy who knew of crimes committed by priests against children still hold positions of influence, that institution is not down.

The Green Party have secured the Civil Partnership Bill, which should become law later this year. It is by no means a perfect bill; not only does it seem a little backward to introduce only civil partnership when to date seven other European countries have allowed gay couples to marry, but it has considerably fewer guarantees and protections than the Civil Partnership Act which the United Kingdom introduced in 2005. I am not convinced that this is the best we could have got constitutionally, but I could believe that it might be the best that could have been achieved politically. Without the Green Party in this government, even these protections in this bill would not have been introduced this year, and I will give that credit where it is due.

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  1. 1 July, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I genuinely never got this argument. The Greens haven’t been the ones kicking up a fuss about this. We haven’t given out ultimatums or talked of collapsing the government or anything like that.

    We don’t attach much priority to it, because it doesn’t deserve much priority. What makes you think we do give it priority? The only reason it received so much coverage was because of the campaign against it.

    • William
      1 July, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      Am I right in thinking it was one of the additions to the program for government you got during the renegotiations, on the same day you voted for NAMA? Brian Lucey’s CF example is a little crass, I’ll admit, but I wonder if you couldn’t have insisted more on certain banking issues. Of course, if like Ed who’s commented to this on FB, you actually agree with what the government has done with NAMA and Anglo, that’s fair enough, and why I’d have been reluctant to transfer to you in the first place.

      • 1 July, 2010 at 2:45 pm

        Well, personally, I don’t support Anglo being included in the original guarantee, but I don’t know how much of that is hindsight on my part. NAMA is shit, but I can’t quite find anything less shit, so to speak.

        The party had two votes on that day. The first was on NAMA, which the party supported in its own right. Then there was a vote on the Programme for Government which, among other things, included a ban on stag hunting. I don’t recall it being mentioned more than once or twice in the day, and it didn’t get much coverage.

        If I thought stag hunting was a big priority, or a big Green issue, then I’d be trumpeting it from the highest rooftop. But, it’s not a big thing for me, for the party, or for the country. The reason it got coverage was because it exposed fracture lines within the government. The actual issue was irrelevant. (At least, that’s how I see it, anyway.)

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