The call by former president Mary McAleese for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on same sex marriage is a devastating blow for the No side and, in particular, for militant Catholic and Iona Institute patron Breda O’Brien.
Newstalk’s Chris Donoghue did an excellent job of putting O’Brien through the wringer on the whole issue (Breakfast Show, part 3).
Here’s O’Brien’s response to the McAleese comments followed by my comments.
Can I just make an important point in relation to Mary McAleese. People have the right to vote, that’s a very fundamental human right and they have a right to do that in freedom and in respect for their views.
This is patronising waffle. Everybody knows they have a right to vote and have that right respected.
Mary McAleese has departed from the precedent set by Mary Robinson and by president Hillary by intervening directly in matters of Irish policy. I presume she has a very good reason for doing so.
The suggestion here is that, somehow, former presidents do not have a right to express an opinion, that they should not interfere in any way in matters of ‘Irish policy’ – whatever that is.
As a private citizen expressing an opinion Mary McAleese is under no obligation whatsoever to give a reason or justification for her views, least of all, to a leading member of a militant Catholic organisation like the Iona Institute.