Political commentators often espouse the view that the ‘Catholic Right’ in modern ireland is a coherent bloc with political heft. A bloc with influence enough left over to bring about much of what it seeks in policy. This is a simple falsehood.

Over the past decades, we have seen a consistent decline in the strength of conservatives in Ireland and while there may be a great deal of voters with some conservative sympathies (at least three quarters of a million), they are disparate in location, economic status, and party loyalty.

Some have found their home in Renua, others in new parties like Aontú, but many and more of them reside in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and to a lesser extent, Sinn Féin.

The splitting of this vote amongst various parties has not resulted in being able to shape and influence policy in all of them, but instead being able to shape policy in none of them. No proof of this rings so true to this than the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis passing a motion to support the retention of the Eighth Amendment and to campaign in a Pro-Life capacity – only to be told in no uncertain terms that their views meant nothing, and the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party would do as it sees fit.

This is not symbolic of an all-powerful Catholic body politic, it is evidence of the incapability of conservatives to bring their votes and their influence to bear on social issues. As more and more powers are given to the Oireachtas to legislate on issues as it sees fit, or “subject to common good and morality,” there must be a very serious repositioning of conservatives, whom are largely Catholic, into a single political body.

There seems to be movement in this direction. Catholic Ireland, unshackled by the repeal of the Amendment, has awoken. Eyes opened to the fact that its very way of life, its morals and its values are under attack.

At a recent meeting in Malahide, between two hundred and three hundred people turned out to listen to David Quinn and Maria Steen, echoing similar turnouts at events across the country organised by Aontú, Iona, or similar oriented bodies.

At various points during their speeches, the speakers received raucous applause, but the loudest and the longest applause occurred when both speakers emulated a very simple idea: that the mainstream political parties must feel the ire of the true Catholics. To quote Maria Steen, “they must feel our displeasure.”

Coinciding with this was a brief announcement by John Leahy, that Renua is willing to withdraw candidates from constituencies where other pro-life candidates have a chance of winning. This might not matter as much in our proportional representation system as it would in first-past-the-post, but it is still important.

This is hardly going to cause a political earthquake, Renua and Aontú are polling at the margins, but it is one of the first indications of the political development that Catholic Ireland is undergoing.

No more should conservatives cannibalise their vote, no more should four or five parties duke it out over the same small percentages and split their support. There are now solid indications that conservative parties are willing to put the broader movement ahead of party politics.

Whether Aontú or Renua thrive, it is my strident view that conservatism in Ireland is finally finding the confidence and self-assertiveness it needs to unify, and by doing so actively enact its political will.

If it wants to survive, the Catholic Right in Ireland must no longer have as many small parties as it has fingers. It must have a single political fist.

Posted by Eoin Corcoran

5 Comments

  1. Michael McCarthy 02/04/2019 at 10:16 am

    The Catholic right in Ireland, the conservative men of Ireland, find Dr. E Michael Jones to be most useful. You can Google the biblical case for ethno nationalism, that’s our Faith. Our God is not a God of confusion but our church is going along with the agenda of globohomo. Our political class is conserving this agenda but there is some hope in the National Party and anti-curruption Ireland. The right will be effective when it sticks to the whole truth and love always

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  2. This is why the right will always fail in Ireland.You insist in bringing religion ,and a particullary toxic version into politics.If you want to attract people like me who consider themselves right wing but without the baggage of beliving in the sky fairy.Id advise canning the middle east goat herders stories and telling the original second occupying force in Ireland to go home to Rome for itself.Belive what you want in your own home or a big draughty building every Sundsy,but not on the rest of us dime who would like to get on with constructing a country where whatever brand of God to belive in is your choice,not everyones choice.

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    1. Without God there is no objective truth and without that you have arbitrary ‘laws’ and thus no true rule of law at all. I won’t be keeping my Catholicism to myself and I won’t be asking for permission to voice my opinion publicly – that would be bowing to tyranny. Finally this meme of the Church being a foreign/occupying force needs to die; this country was peacefully converted to the faith and those who believed, contributed so much not just to this country but to parts Europe too.

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    2. >You insist in bringing religion ,and a particullary toxic version into politics.

      Compared to what, quiet and sensitive secularism? It seems you do not understand what faith is and how that plays into a devout person’s life. I call this being culturally and politically ignorant, Sean.

      >If you want to attract people like me who consider themselves right wing but without the baggage of beliving in the sky fairy.

      If you want any respect it’s best to stop thinking like your kind, the secular right, is the antidote to the religious right’s problems. You’re not, I can assure you of that. You add nothing of value. Your condescension doesn’t help your case because it’s the same condescension a modern secularist irregardless of political leaning uses when speaking of religion. In all honesty it seems you’re the one with the baggage, not those whom you think believe in a “sky fairy.”

      >the original second occupying force in Ireland to go home to Rome for itself

      An anti-theist is an anti-theist no matter the political stripe. You all have the same tone and all the same talking points.

      >Belive what you want in your own home or a big draughty building every Sundsy,but not on the rest of us dime who would like to get on with constructing a country where whatever brand of God to belive in is your choice,not everyones choice.

      Get over yourself, Sean. If you can’t respectfully and properly address the issue within the OP without going on a typical modern secularist anti-theist rant then you have proven you are not worthy of being “attracted” to. You have demonstrated you have no capacity to be tolerant and have perspective.

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  3. Antony Douglas 02/04/2019 at 8:41 pm

    The Catholic Right should know that they are in a minority both demographic and cultural and as such,notions of a Catholic Ethno State will have little appeal to the voting public.
    They of course have every right to aspire to this outcome I am only noting the fact that many Irish people are not disposed to Irish Roman Catholicism in any shape or form at this point in time .
    Eastern Europe can combine national identity with religion because this reflects their shared language,kinship and history . Ireland has not the homogeneous population anymore to make an ethnic state likely.
    There are more Mandarin speakers than Gaelic ones ,Russian is the shared language of thousands of Irish citizens not to mention the African and Indian sub continent languages spoken every day in Ireland . The last fifteen years has changed Ireland forever. The immigrants are not going home, they hold Irish passports as do their children . Conservatives will need to heed these facts if they are to prosper in the coming years.

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