IRISH Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Patricia King has warmly welcomed the overwhelming ‘yes’ vote in the marriage equality (gay marriage) referendum saying it was a ‘remarkable day in our history,’ won by a landslide 63% to 37% vote, with a record-breaking turnout.
In fact, only one area of the country, Roscommon, saw a ‘no’ vote victory. In the cities the ‘yes’ vote was a landslide, without the expected backlash in the rural areas, which followed the lead of the working class in the towns.
It was the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who blurted out the truth, with his estimation, ‘I think it is a social revolution.’
In fact, it is a rapidly developing social revolution in a country that even a decade or so ago was in the grip of the Roman Catholic Church, and its church-dominated state apparatus.
In fact, the standing of the Church was even then in decline following the national scandal over the Magdalen Laundries, and child abuse by celibate priests.
The Laundries were staffed by female slave labourers, who were placed in them because they were judged to be guilty of ‘sins of the flesh’, while the children that they bore were given away to the better off.
Their lives were supervised by nuns, many of whom were very affected by the unnatural celibate lives that they were living.
In 2001, the Irish Government admitted that the Magdalene Laundries were places of abuse. In 2011, the United Nations Committee Against Torture urged Ireland to investigate government involvement in the Catholic Church’s enslavement of these women.
In 2013, Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny issued a full state apology to the victims, calling them the ‘nation’s shame’.
Two major reports into Irish allegations of priestly paedophilia in 2009, revealed the extent of abuse, cover-ups and hierarchical failings involving thousands of victims, stretching back decades.
A fresh scandal erupted in March 2010, when it emerged that the head of the Irish Catholic Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, was present at meetings in 1975 where children signed vows of silence over complaints against a paedophile priest, Fr Brendan Smyth. This prompted Pope Benedict XVI to apologise to Irish victims.
These scandals turned large numbers of people away from the Catholic Church.
Then came the crash of 2007-2008 which saw Irish workers, both in town and country pauperised by austerity measures to save the bankers, involving massive unemployment, huge cuts, housing charges and then water charges all – to save the bankers.
One of the biggest casualties of this onslaught were Ireland’s youth, hundreds of thousands of whom were exported to Canada, Australia and other countries to look for jobs, while those who remained at home were subjected to wage cuts and unemployment.
The campaign against privatisation and water charges saw the political temperature raised to boiling point. Then came the referendum on ‘gay marriage’ with the Roman Catholic ‘Church State’, the principal opposition to the measure.
Into this campaign poured all of the class hatred that had accumulated in the previous period. This was the rock on which the Catholic Church State was wrecked.
Alongside workers in Greece, Spain, the UK and throughout the EU, Irish workers are now battling austerity on all fronts, with demands that wages and jobs be restored to their pre-2007 levels, as well as insisting on basic rights.
What is emerging is a social revolution to smash capitalism, its austerity programmes, its state forces and its religious police of all varieties.
What is required in Ireland and throughout Europe is building sections of the Fourth International to organise the socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism, and with it the rule of the bosses, bankers and all their high priests.
This will replace bankrupt capitalism with a socialist planned economy throughout Europe that can plan production to satisfy the needs of the people, and where religion will be a private matter and not a tool of the state.