Criticising the attempted eviction of a terminally ill woman from a house near Croke Park last Wednesday, David Norris (Ind) said prior to Seanad sittings that a “ridiculous” prayer was recited.
“I really disapprove of it as a Christian because I think it is humbug,” the Senator said.
He asked whether any member who believed in the prayer thought Jesus Christ would be throwing a woman of a certain age and her daughter out on the street with nowhere to go.
He commended the women’s neighbours who had joined in solidarity to prevent the eviction. The older woman had been too frail to be moved into an ambulance.
“It’s a disgrace. It’s a reproach to every public representative in this country, and certainly if I ever hear about this kind of thing going on anywhere near me in future, I will be down there doing my best.
“It is also unconstitutional, in my opinion, because you are required to take into account the public good,” he said.
Labour would introduce a Private Members Bill next week to amend section 37 of the Employment Equality Act of 1998, Seanad deputy leader Ivana Bacik (Lab) told the House. She said she hoped there would be cross-party support for the measure. “Well done,” Senator Norris said.
The Act’s controversial section facilitates selected employment of staff to preserve the ethos of certain educational and medical institutions.
Rónán Mullen (Ind) said events following the death of Fr Niall Molloy in Clara, Co Offaly, 28 years ago amounted to the kind of miscarriage of justice about which we had spent so much time condemning when they had happened in other jurisdictions.
The jailing of innocent people was akin to the absence of a proper investigation and trial in relation to an untimely death, he said. “It seems to me that there is more than a prima facie case that that is the case here.”