Sir, – It is becoming increasingly clear that the much-vaunted constitutional convention is a cynical political exercise. A random focus group of citizens is expected to consider the wisdom of, among other things, maintaining or extending the protection of women in the home to a gender-neutral provision. This is despite the fact that the real economy has already made that decision (“Number of women employees exceeds men, census finds”, Home News, June 29th).
Now Eamon Gilmore says the “time has come” for gay marriage (Home News, July 2nd). One would have to question then the need to also refer this matter to the convention given that, according to the opinion polls, same-sex marriage enjoys overwhelming public support, which would be demonstrated in any event at a referendum.
This abdication of leadership on this issue in our representative democracy is caused by the simple reason that Labour supports gay marriage, but Fine Gael only tenuously supports it if the process can be dragged out so that it is unlikely to require action by the current Dáil. Of course, Enda Kenny’s pet policy of abolition of the Seanad, which he formulated without even consulting his parliamentary party, is not even a topic up for discussion at the convention. The Government cannot even defend this position in the Seanad (“Coalition defeated in Seanad as Labour trio breaks ranks”, Home News, June 29th).
The Government should radically reappraise the purpose of the convention. – Yours, etc.