Friday, 4 November 2011

Ireland, changed utterly

I can't believe I'm going to write the next sentence.  Ireland has broken off diplomatic relations with the Vatican.  Just a couple of years ago, that would have seemed as inconceivable as Ian Paisley becoming a Catholic or Manchester City winning the European Cup.

The news isn't entirely unexpected.  Earlier this year, the Vatican recalled its ambassador after the Taoiseach Enda Kenny attacked the Church's role in covering up child abuse. 

The official reason for closing the Irish embassy at the Vatican is to save money.  But given that the amount involved is under a million pounds a year - less than Charlie Haughey, the spectacularly corrupt Taoiseach in the 1980's, spent on posh French shirts - it seems almost certain that it is a result of the Church covering up child abuse.

More evidence of the new mood in Ireland came in last week's presidential election when the openly gay senator David Norris beat the staunchly Catholic candidate Dana into sixth place by almost sixty thousand votes.

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