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Saturday, November 12, 2005

What do you want from the Great and Mighty Oz, Bertie?

There's a consistency to how cowardly An Taoiseach Blandie Ahern is that is almost reassuring.

Liz O'Donnell, a high profile member of the junior coalition partner in the Irish government, delivered a speech in which she criticized the Catholic Church's stranglehold on the institutions of the Irish state. She called for greater - if not total - separation of Church and State in this country by ending the deference to and fear of the Church, which were overriding factors in prolonging the revolting and depraved abuse of children by priests.

It was a brave, timely speech that expressed a lot of the anger and disgust that the majority of people in this country feel and think today. Elements within the Church abused their position horrendously and inflicted untold suffering upon too many children. Higher powers in the Church then saw fit to cover it all up and move paedohiles around to wreck more destruction wherever they went. It was an active, willing criminal conspiracy.

When the scandal broke in Ireland, the government, under Ahern and with the approval of O'Donnell's party, made a deal with the Church whereby the taxpayer would foot the majority of the bill for compensation for abuse victims and the church would make a one-off payment of €128m. The taxpayer could end up paying up to €2billion.

People are profoundly angry at the Church - and mad at themselves too for allowing ourselves to be kept under the foot of the Church for so long. So if a politcian articulates the rage that the country is feeling, it should be welcomed and supported.

But no. The Prime Minister of our country not only disowned O'Donnell's remarks but in doing so demonstrated the type of softly-softly, sycophantic approach to the Church that O'Donnell correctly identified as a problem.

Bertie has always been Everyman to Everyone; decision-making is not his strong-point nor is showing strong, unambiguous leadership or, for that matter, doing anything that might make him unpopular with anyone. Just what you need in a Prime Minister.

He might trust the Church completely to investigate itself and self-regulate in order to implement the change that is drastically needed to ensure that this type of abuse never happens again. I certainly don't nor should anyone else. The Church, afterall, is involved in a cover-up that leads all the way to Il Papa in the Vatican - the supreme guardian of the Catholic faith who has yet to make a statement on the Ferns report by the way. So you'll forgive me if I don't share the Taoiseach's faith in the Church.

Maybe some day, the Cowardly Bertie will be blown to the magical world of Oz, where he can journey to the the great Wizard himself in the Emerald City and ask for some courage.

"Life is sad, believe me Missy,
When you're born to be a sissy
Without the vim and verve.

But I could change my habits,
Nevermore be scared of rabbits
If I only had the nerve.

I'm afraid there's no denyin'
I'm just a dandylion
A fate I don't deserve.

But I could show my prowess,
Be a lion not a mowess
If I only had the nerve.

Oh, I'd be in my stride,
a king down to the core
Oh, I'd roar the way I never roared before
And then I'd rrrwoof
And roar some more.

I would show the dinosaurus
Who's king around the fores'
A king they'd better serve.

Why with my regal beezer,
I could be another Caesar
If I only had the nerve".

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