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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Taking back our institutions from the religious is a legal right and the right thing to do


When the Free State was formed in 1922 one form of tyranny was replaced by another and that tyrannical force was the Catholic Church of Ireland. In our more diverse and enlightened world that is Ireland today it is easy to forget that it was only 25 years ago that this country started to emerge from that tyranny. 

The 1990’s decade could be argued as one of the most progressive in Ireland’s free state history. At it’s beginning the Industrial school institutions and Magdalene laundries still hummed in harmony, Fr. Michael Cleary and Bishop Eamon Casey’s children were doing well, indeed these two hypocrites were doing well but their girlfriends and mother of their children were not. Condoms, divorce, and the contraceptive pill were still banned as hundreds of children were still being raped and abused by the clergy and the files of Fr Brendan Smyth went missing along with thousands of others and the remains of dead babies. Homosexuality was still a crime punishable by prison.

It looked like another 2000 years might pass before this religion, grounded on fear and superstitions, would ever be called to rights or righteousness. But by the year 2000 all of this would change and changed utterly it did. The truth would hurt and the blows of that truth keep hammering away at a church that cannot come out now from it’s catatonic state. It took the moral and just courage of the people of Ireland to change the church and expose their crimes. All that remains now is to sort out the property and wealth that this Church had acquired illegally during the darker ages of this fledgling state, acquired from a craven and fearful state more afraid for their mortal souls after death rather than the doing the right and legal thing before it. At least the constitution is on the side of the state and all it needs is the political will to carry through the death kneel of this wholly and corrupt church. 

Article 44.2.2 of the constitution rules: “The State guarantees not to endow any religion.”
That means in clear legal terms not to furnish or give to any religion an income or property or properties. Article 44 makes illegal all properties or income given to the Catholic Church past or present. It throws a wide net across all the schools, colleges, and universities here which are almost entirely owned by the Catholic Church; this includes the monies received to pay teachers, and the rent plus lease payments given to them by the Irish State every year that runs into the millions of euro. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Walmart would be proud of the Catholic Church’s corporate know how and accomplishments thus far and all entirely based on the currency of fear and nothing else. 

It is a secondary point that a “Catholics First” admissions policy in a National School is not allowed either under article 44.2.2 of the constitution. That is of the least concern to the Church and will give in easily here and to the principle of non- discrimination of single mother teachers or those who are gay or lesbian. These are only catholic morality based issues and will not affect the Church’s bottom line on their financial sheet which is all it cares about. But hell, fire and brimstone along with the best legal minds that money can buy will be brought to bear to stop the State regaining lands and buildings or from diverting monies elsewhere from them where they believe that it is their God given right to ownership of same. The State will win this battle if they can only find the courage first to engage in the fight.

It is a fight though that has to be fought before Roberts Emmet's epitaph can be truly written before or after a united Ireland. Ireland cannot unite fairly or freely in union with all it’s citizens until religion is left as a personal choice rather than the choice of government, either in governance or spirit, in order to break bread with any religious denomination. It is also illegal to have done so or to continue as such.


Barry Clifford