Mark Humphrys (politics)


Sharia law in Ireland - The roll of shame 1985

  Why do I pick this particular vote?

The roll of shame

Why is this relevant now?

The roll of shame 2009

The roll of shame 1985

Irish politicians who voted against legalising contraception for unmarried people in 1985.

The innocent pleasures of kissing, love and sex.
Image from here. See terms of use.

Why do I pick this particular vote?

Since independence in 1922, a series of oppressive and discriminatory laws based on religion have been inflicted on all Irish citizens, believers or non-believers. The main oppressive laws were gradually dismantled in the 1970s-90s. For many of them (such as censorship) there was no single dramatic moment of liberation. For others (such as homosexuality) there was no final vote on the issue.

The 1985 vote to legalise contraception for unmarried people was probably the single most dramatic vote in the decades-long campaign to separate church and state. It is hard to think of a better "roll of shame" than those who voted against this fundamental right - the right to safely have sex before marriage. I think this is the most embarrassing vote by Irish politicians of my lifetime (at least, until 2009).

If you can think of a more embarrassing vote by Irish politicians in the last 40 years, let me know.

The roll of shame

Those Irish politicians that are still active in politics are hyperlinked.

Contraception was legalised for unmarried people in the Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act 1985. The final vote was on 21 Feb 1985. See Irish Times, 22 Feb 1985. Dail members voting against were:

  1. Ahern, Bertie.
  2. Ahern, Michael.
  3. Andrews, David.
  4. Andrews, Niall.
  5. Aylward, Liam.
  6. Barrett, Michael.
  7. Barrett, Sylvester.
  8. Blaney, Neil Terence.
  9. Brady, Gerard.
  10. Brady, Vincent.
  11. Brennan, Mattie.
  12. Brennan, Paudge.
  13. Brennan, Séamus.
  14. Briscoe, Ben.
  15. Browne, John.
  16. Burke, Raphael P.
  17. Byrne, Hugh.
  18. Byrne, Seán.
  19. Calleary, Seán.
  20. Collins, Gerard.
  1. Conaghan, Hugh.
  2. Connolly, Ger.
  3. Coughlan, Cathal Seán.
  4. Cowen, Brian.
  5. Daly, Brendan.
  6. Doherty, Seán.
  7. Fahey, Francis.
  8. Fahey, Jackie.
  9. Faulkner, Pádraig.
  10. Fitzgerald, Gene.
  11. Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  12. Fitzsimons, Jim.
  13. Flanagan, Oliver J.
  14. Flynn, Pádraig.
  15. Foley, Denis.
  16. Gallagher, Denis.
  17. Gallagher, Pat Cope.
  18. Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  19. Glenn, Alice.
  20. Harney, Mary.
  1. Haughey, Charles J.
  2. Hilliard, Colm.
  3. Hyland, Liam.
  4. Kirk, Séamus.
  5. Kitt, Michael.
  6. Lemass, Eileen.
  7. Lenihan, Brian.
  8. Leonard, Jimmy.
  9. Leonard, Tom.
  10. Leyden, Terry.
  11. Lyons, Denis.
  12. McCarthy, Seán.
  13. McCreevy, Charlie.
  14. McEllistrim, Tom.
  15. MacSharry, Ray.
  16. Molloy, Robert.
  17. Morley, P. J.
  18. Moynihan, Donal.
  19. Nolan, M. J.
  20. Noonan, Michael J.
  1. O'Connell, John.
  2. O'Dea, William.
  3. O'Donnell, Tom.
  4. O'Hanlon, Rory.
  5. O'Keeffe, Edmond.
  6. O'Kennedy, Michael.
  7. O'Leary, John.
  8. Ormonde, Donal.
  9. O'Rourke, Mary.
  10. Power, Paddy.
  11. Reynolds, Albert.
  12. Treacy, Noel.
  13. Treacy, Seán.
  14. Tunney, Jim.
  15. Wallace, Dan.
  16. Walsh, Joe.
  17. Walsh, Seán.
  18. Wilson, John P.
  19. Wyse, Pearse.

The initial vote was on 20 Feb 1985. See Irish Times, 21 Feb 1985. Additional members voting against in this vote were:

  1. Woods, Michael. (In the final vote on 21 Feb he was "paired" with a member from the other side.)

The Senate passed the bill on 6 Mar 1985. See Irish Times, 7 Mar 1985. Members voting against were:

  1. Cassidy, Donie.
  2. de Brún, Séamus.
  3. Ellis, John.
  4. Fallon, Seán.
  5. Fitzsimons, Jack.
  6. Hanafin, Des.
  7. Hillery, Brian.
  8. Honan, Tras.
  9. Hussey, Thomas.
  1. Kiely, Rory.
  2. Killilea, Mark.
  3. Lanigan, Mick.
  4. Lynch, Michael.
  5. Mullooly, Brian.
  6. O'Toole, Martin J.
  7. Ryan, Eoin.
  8. Ryan, William.
  9. Smith, Michael.

Why is this relevant now?

I post this to compare it with the new "roll of shame" - the Irish politicians who voted to introduce a working blasphemy law in 2009. That is, they voted to introduce new religious oppression into Ireland.

The blasphemy law is the most absurd and embarrassing vote by Irish politicians since 1985.

When I was a teenager in the 1980s, contraception was illegal for all unmarried people.
The Irish government arrested anyone who sold contraception to young people.
Now, the Irish government has an agency to promote contraception.
Video from, from the Crisis Pregnancy Agency.

Another video from

Ad for Levonelle, which is a morning after pill.

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