Róisín Meets: Liz McManus in favour of removing 8th amendment

Former Labour deputy leader says amendment guaranteeing the equal right to life of the unborn was a ‘serious mistake’

Róisín Ingle with former Labour deputy leader and novelist Liz McManus

Róisín Ingle with former Labour deputy leader and novelist Liz McManus

 

Former Labour deputy leader and novelist Liz McManus has said she is in favour of gender quotas in the Dáil.

“I think a lot of people have come around to the notion that you have to move (on quotas). If we don’t do it, we’re going to stay stuck, and in politics you cannot stay stuck,” she said.

Speaking on this week’s Róisín Meets podcast, Ms McManus also said she is in favour of the removal of the 8th amendment from the Constitution, which guarantees the equal right to life of the unborn.

“It was a serious mistake, and regrettably it was Garret Fitzgerald who made it, to ever have the referendum to bring it into the Constitution,” she said. “And until it goes you’re going to have really difficult cases and contentious debates, and it won’t go away”.

McManus’s new novel, “Shadows in the Yard” concerns the killing of a woman by paramilitaries in the 1970s. She said that the main character is not a political person, “but she is typical of people who were either killed or terrible badly maimed by the trouble in the north, who were the bystanders, who were just caught in the crossfire”.

“At the beginning of the book there’s a poem by John Hewitt, which makes the point that the men who go out and fight - they’re recorded, they’re remembered. But these others, very often their names are forgotten,” she said.

McManus was a member of the Northern Ireland Forum for Peace and Reconciliation from 1995 to 1997, and also served as minister of state for housing.

She said that the current homelessness situation is “absolutely shocking”.

“The government policy, to be fair to them they have a clear policy and they’re taking it very seriously. The difficulty as I see it is, what happens between now and then time those new houses are built, because everything is bunged up,” she said.

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