Last Friday we heard how a ‘working group’ is examining the development of a process that will serve to disregard convictions for consensual sexual activity between men which occurred prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993.
As part of this ‘examination’, our Department of Justice launched a public consultation survey which will feed into creating a scheme that will, I sincerely hope, dismiss such convictions, restoring the good names and reputations of those men who were affected.
While this initiative is welcomed, given, (as I understand, under the Government’s Justice Plan 2022), the final findings from the working group examining the response to the survey were scheduled to have been submitted to Minister McEntee by the end of Q3, it’s clear that our Government has fallen behind schedule.
To that end, as the deadline is 5 pm, Friday 9th of December, (i.e. Q4), would it be fair to wonder if perhaps, (to keep things on schedule), it’s possible the overall process might become a tad rushed? If that’s the case, then how can we be certain the wrongs inflicted on these poor men, and on their families and loved ones, will not only be properly addressed, but also be remedied? Just throwing that question out there.
I don’t know about you readers, but I find it very difficult to digest the fact that nearly 30 years ago, prior to the 24th of June 1993 when the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality legislation finally limped its way into law, Irish citizens were classed as criminals for loving the ‘wrong’ person.
Of course we mustn’t forget how, during the 1980s, the devastating condition, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) meant that not only did gay men face the horrors of becoming infected, but, thanks to a lack of public education and a number of high profile scaremongering campaigns, they were egregiously branded with spreading ‘the gay plague’. But I digress…
The piece of legislation which essentially stopped treating gay and bisexual men as second class citizens – the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) 1993 Bill – was proposed by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the then Minister for Justice. I have to note how fitting it is that, 30 years on, another female Minister for Justice is, in a bid to remove the stigma of those who were discriminated against, trying to, in her words, ‘contribute to the healing process’. Well done to both of these ministers.
I hate to point it out…okay I don’t, but isn’t this proof, (if it were ever needed) that, in order for us to attain an equitable Irish society, as well as a properly functioning democracy, the full and active participation of women in government is not just necessary, it’s essential?
However readers, while the 1993 Bill and the more recent Marriage Equality Act 2015 were revolutionary, it seems that many beautiful LGBTQ+ people are still, sadly living with shame.
Of course that’s down to the fact that certain individuals (yes Fr Seán Sheehy, I’m referring to you), have archaic fire-and-brimstone opinions on the matter, the latter preaching that same-sex relationships and transgenderism were mortal sins. Oh, and apparently by supplying free condoms to teenagers, the HSE is, in Fr Sheehy’s eyes, ‘promoting promiscuity’.
I firmly believe everyone’s entitled to hold their personal opinions, and I will always support our fundamental right to freedom of speech. However, when those opinions are based on a reactive emotional preference they become dangerous. When those opinions are blind to all logic and when they incite hate, they turn from being valuable to being harmful.
Furthermore, when they’re publicly expressed from the pulpit by the same Catholic priest who provided a character reference for a convicted sex offender in 2009, they not only become invalid, they also become a ferocious attack on our civil rights to live with dignity and in peace.
Of course not all members of the clergy buy into Fr Sheehy’s inflexible methods. There are wonderful priests throughout the country coming up with innovative ways to get the ‘bouncy castle’ parishioner like me, who only shows up at church for family communions, confirmations and weddings, back to Mass. However, sadly, even as we never seem to hear about these lovely priests, it’s only fair that this week, given Fr Sheehy’s toxic sermon, we acknowledge them for their humanity, their compassion and their forward-thinking.
Is Elon Musk a problem solver or a problem creator?
Following months of legal wrangling, the world’s richest man, Elon Musk (his net worth is around $203 billion) is finally, (scarily some would say) in control of one of the world’s largest social media networks, i.e. Twitter – with the negative effects of his takeover already taking hold.
No sooner had he entered the Twitter building (carrying a sink, yes, he waltzed in, big grin plastered on his face, white bathroom sink clutched in his paws), Musk began the process of culling his workforce.
In a bid to drive down costs at Twitter, the Tesla CEO – who strangely likes to think of himself as a man of the people – brutally cut his global workforce by 3,700 members; many of them Irish workers who were callously and disgracefully informed of their pre-Christmas fate by way of an email.
Yes folks, it seems the man with the mega-brood – one of which is called X – who also has a desire to colonise Mars, (the planet, not the chocolate bar), likes to think of himself as a bit of a problem solver. However, given the backlash following his indifferent ‘you’re no longer working here’ message, which may be an illegal move given he allegedly didn’t comply with our collective redundancy legislation, the heartless ‘Chief Twit’ could have effectively opened the floodgates for a raft of unfair dismissal claims. That would make him a problem-creator!
Methinks acquiring ownership of the world’s so-called most influential social media platform while taking on debt, cutting his costs, pandering to his fans, pleasing his supporters and not provoking his haters is not going to be the massive knees-up the maverick media mogul thought it was going to be! Something’s gonna give…watch this space!
Will you grow a Mo for Movember?
It’s Movember, the one month in the year when men across Ireland will be sporting moustaches in a bid to raise funds and awareness around men’s health, and, in particular, around prostate and testicular cancer. Well done lads!
Personally, I’m one of those women who finds moustachioed and bearded men to be very attractive. Indeed, I find a well groomed, mo-and-beard-combo, with a hint of grey thrown in for maturity, to be extremely manly – kind of almost adding a wilderness vibe to the face – but that probably falls under the TMI rule!
But here’s the thing…you don’t exactly have to grow a ‘mo’ to get involved lads. You can, if you wish, host a fundraising event such as a karaoke night, a soccer match, just give a donation, or you can ‘move for Movember’ by doing a sponsored run, walk or swim!
If you log onto www.cancer.ie you’ll find out more about their fundraising and awareness events happening across Ireland.