Monday 9 February 2009

Ganley lurches further right - perhaps Brussel's elite is to blame for this too?

Eh? Who is this Ganley now and where is he coming from? He was speaking at a panel discussion hosted by a pro-life Catholic group. Here's a long quote from the Irish Times:

He also assured delegates of his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, referring to earlier opening remarks in which he quoted from Pope Benedict’s recent encyclicals, Deus Caritas Est and Spe Salvi , “with their message of God’s love”.

Reflecting on Ireland’s history he continued, “our faith and our rights are strong today because we have suffered the yoke of oppression . . . we grew stronger and we grew free”.

He queried whether “we have lost something” and noted the address of the pope at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome immediately prior to his election in April 2005. There, the pope criticised a “dictatorship of moral relativism . . . in a world where faith in God is seen as a threat”, Mr Ganley said.

He went on to criticise “a media obsessed with breaking down the domestic church . . . and the family” and reminded delegates that “the essence of our faith is that all life is sacred”. He concluded: “Yes we must, we must take risks for truth.”

In the later question-and-answer session, he said any guarantees given by the EU on social and ethical issues “were not worth the paper they are written on”, where the European Court of Justice was concerned.

Ignoring the fact that the Catholic Church itself, upon examining the Lisbon Treaty, found that it would not effect family law and issues such as abortion (well, it is what right-wing Catholic pressure group Coir did during the referendum campaign - but who says that Catholicism needs to be coherent?), and ignoring that the Treaties post-Lisbon explicitly state that family law is to remain a matter for the member states, why exactly should the Catholic Church have a central role in Ireland?

We tried that before, and it wasn't exactly fun. Does Ganley want the "dictatorship of moral relativism" to be replaced with Church authority? He would probably deny that, but modern societies are diverse, with many groups with different views - and such an idealised version of religious and family life can't even be attempted to be maintained without a the Church being in a position of great authority in society. It seems perverse that someone who claims to want the EU to be democratized and rails against Brussels elites, at the same time criticises the press for not showing enough deference to Church authority and advocates an idealised, conservative model of society which would exclude so many others.

The media is right to be critical of the Church, and the Church has only itself to blame. Ganley, raised in England, may not fully appreciate the sway the Church had on society here, but he should be well aware of how it has been abused. Child abuse is only the most extreme example.

Faith should be private.

On a probably more relevant political note:

"The party was now recognised in all 27 EU countries, he said, and referred delegates to its website"

The website is another thing. It has not been updated in ages, has no mention of who has given Libertas support (I had to find that out elsewhere), and seems to mainly exist to issue howls of righteous indignation against the government, other parties and Brussels whenever they say anything against him, or he suffers a setback. There are some who have reacted by trying to smear him (and he reacts by smearing them back), which is totally the wrong way to go about it. His ideas and his "party" are so riddled with weaknesses that it should be easy to take him on. Wild rhetoric on the pro-Lisbon side is a sign of weakness, and brings the debate down.

And despite support from a Finnish MP, I note that Libertas' Finland page is still in English...


  1. Declan Ganley and Libertas seem to attempt the old and tried road of populists: being many things at the same time, offering simplistic answers to complex problems, but proclaiming all its messages loud enogh to be heard and seen.

    Living in the age of real time information, I wonder at the total ineptitude Libertas has shown in keeping its web site up to date and in creating even a semblance of a constructive platform for its election campaign.

  2. I can only hope that the Pro-Lisbon side can pick up on all that has happened over that last few months and use it to show the people of Ireland just how worthless Libertas is. However, I shouldn't hold my breath on that one.

    You would think that Libertas would be able to use the internet to its advantage, but it's only ever left me with the opinion that it's all a big ego trip for a middle-aged businessman.

    However I think he has lurched far more to the right recently - perhaps he knows that he's unlikely to gain any support from more centerist MPs and MEPs and his only hope to attract more support is to shift right. This should mean that he'll loose support among the voters, but with the lack of interest in European politics, maybe he's banking on them not really noticing or caring. If he is, you never know, he might be right.