Taoiseach’s stance on abortion legislation praised by Connemara cleric

Catholic hierarchy stance that of the ’idealist’


Connemara priest and author Fr Pádraig Standún has paid tribute to Taoiseach Enda Kenny for his stance on the abortion legislation.

The criticism levelled by the Catholic hierarchy at Mr Kenny and his Government over the legislation was a “classic confrontation between the idealist and the realist”, Fr Standún said.

The Carna-based priest was speaking at the publication in Galway of Liam O’Flaherty’s The House of Gold, a reissue for the first time in more than 80 years of the first novel to be banned by the State’s Censorship of Publications Board.

Fr Standún said this week’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll had proven that the Government had “got it right” in reflecting the views of the public on the issue. He said he admired Mr Kenny’s assertion in the Dáil that he was a public representative “who happens to be a Catholic but not a Catholic Taoiseach”, and said this was a contrast to the days when politicians were “Catholic ministers and not ministers who happen to be Catholic”.

Referring to the writings of O’Flaherty, Fr Standún said there were many areas in which the established church and socialism had much in common.

O’Flaherty had sought to expose injustice, and it was this type of injustice that had led to the more radical liberation theology in South America that had in turn produced the new pope, Fr Standún said.

The Catholic Church’s support for an “oppressive native gombeen ascendancy” in the new republic had been the focus of O’Flaherty’s criticism in works like The House of Gold, published in 1929.