Ireland- Anti-abortion movement trusts politicians only when it suits them

Anti-abortion movement trusts politicians only when it suits them
Eighth Amendment was result of efforts in 1983 to politicise abortion

Mar 31, 2018
Diarmaid Ferriter

Over the decades, champions of the Eighth Amendment have been conveniently selective in their assessments of the usefulness of politicians. During the Seanad debate on the abortion Bill on Wednesday, Senator Ronán Mullen was adamant that “politicians simply can’t be trusted on this issue”; indeed the Eighth Amendment, he insisted, was originally designed to “take this issue away from politicians”.

But it was the politicians who the orchestrators of the Eighth Amendment found extremely useful in 1983. Emily O’Reilly’s 1992 book, Masterminds of the Right underlines a secret world of a very small group who plotted the 1983 amendment and got the politicians to do their bidding.


Ireland – Ann Lovett: Death of a ‘strong, kick-ass girl’

Ann Lovett: Death of a ‘strong, kick-ass girl’
Ann Lovett died aged 15 after giving birth at a grotto in Granard, Co Longford in 1984. Had she lived, she would turn 50 next month

Sat, Mar 24, 2018
Rosita Boland

“I remember being outside the church when the hearse arrived . . . I remember when they were taking the coffin out of the hearse, there was a collective gasp . . . Usually at a removal, you’d hear a mumble of people talking. But apart from that gasp, there was silence. What could anyone say?”

Nuala Ledwith, who lived three miles outside Granard, Co Longford, at the time, is talking about the removal of Ann Lovett and her stillborn son to St Mary’s Church in Granard on Thursday, February 2nd, 1984. Two days previously, Ann Lovett had died after giving birth in the grotto adjoining St Mary’s. She was 15. The repercussions of her death continue to resonate powerfully in Irish society, more than three decades later.


Ireland: Ann Lovett 1968 – January 31 1984

Ann Lovett 1968 – January 31 1984
By Donal O'Keeffe
January 31, 2018

34 years ago today, Ann Lovett died after giving birth at a grotto in Granard. Ann’s death changed an Ireland which is still trying to escape the long shadow of the 1980s, writes Donal O’Keeffe.

Granard, Co Longford, is a very picturesque town. It dates back at least to Celtic times and is mentioned in the Táin Bó Cuailgne. Queen Medb and her army stopped in Granard, on their way to take the brown bull of Cooley. So ancient a place is Granard that the original meaning of its name is unclear in Irish. It’s said St Patrick appointed the son of his former master the first bishop of Granard.

Granard is dominated – literally – by the Catholic Church. As you enter from the Edgeworthstown side, you’re immediately aware of the hill looming up on your left, and the grey St Mary’s Church which overlooks the entire main street. At the top of the hill, above the church, is a statue of St Patrick. Below that statue, behind the church, is a Marian shrine. The concreted ground is slick with moss, as a stone Saint Bernadette gazes up with unliving eyes at the statue immortalised by Paula Meehan in her poem ‘The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks‘.