Fine Gael Blows Hot and Cold On Rape

by Kathy McMahon, founder Irish First Mothers 

Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny set aside almost two hours of his time yesterday, and devoted it to personally hear Maria Cahill recount her story of historic rape. But this striking commitment to a key issue for women is far from emblematic of Fine Gael in general.

Some months ago a delegation of women representing survivors of mother and baby homes, met then Fine Gael Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Charlie Flanagan --to discuss their concerns.

The Minister was requested to attach an outreach mechanism to any inquiry into these homes - on the basis that a high percentage of women coming forward to testify, could be expected to be concealing their status as victims of sexual abuse and rape. 

Care should be taken, the minister was told, that such women are sensitively handled - with a view to help them develop the confidence to voice these secrets and hopefully challenge historic perpetrators in court.

The Minister could see no basis for such special sensitivity.

"The Garda stations are all open," he matter-of-factly informed the delegates, to a stunned silence. 

"Some of them, even 24 hours," he continued, and went on to other business.

Why so cold just months ago - yet Fine Gael now so hot? 

A bit like the Irish weather, perhaps it depends on which way the winds are blowing.


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