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Dermot Ahern – Mr. Nice Guy

June 12th, 2010 · 5 Comments · Equality, Irish Politics, LGBT, Same Sex Partnerships

Dermot Ahern is interviewed today in the Irish Times. He’s Mr. Nice Guy really – well this is what he wants to let the readers (and FF TD’s who may vote in a leadership election) know.  He has quite a bit to say on the Civil Partnership Bill.

AS THE MURPHY REPORT into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin was released last November, Ahern warned that “a collar will protect no criminal?. Was it difficult for him to say that? “No.? Not at all? He laughs a little and says “no? again. As a Catholic? “Yeah, well, I mean, I have been abused by a 28-year-old curate off the pulpit in my own constituency in Drogheda for the Civil Partnership Bill. Somebody half my age.? He’s 55.

The controversial Bill, which he has sponsored, has provoked “a bit of a campaign? against him. “I do leave my religion behind me and I genuinely mean that. While we all have our beliefs and our own religions, I don’t think it should cloud our judgment.?

He says an element in Fianna Fáil will probably never be reconciled to the terms of the proposed legislation. A number of party senators were on their feet expressing concern about aspects of the Bill when former first minister and DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley visited the Seanad just last week.

“I don’t know if you’ll reconcile them. A lot of them are implacably opposed to it,? Ahern says. But their proposal to introduce a so-called conscience clause that might allow, for example, registrars to opt out of facilitating civil partnerships is “absolutely not a runner? because registrars and other civil servants “can’t have an à la carte attitude to their job?.

The initial media focus was on the element of the Bill that covered civil partnership for same-sex couples, which he concedes was partly “our fault?.

He has agreed to change the name of the Bill to take into account that it also includes a redress scheme for heterosexual and same-sex couples who break up after cohabiting for at least five years.

Farming groups, such as the Irish Farmers’ Association and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association, have criticised the proposed legislation. They are mistaken, Ahern says. “The IFA and others are misunderstanding what this piece of the civil partnership legislation is. It is a right to go to court. It’s not a right to get part of the estate. You have to convince the court that you’re entitled to some relief and it’s up to you to prove,? he says.

Siblings who live together are reasonably well protected under law, both from a taxation and succession point of view, he says, although he might ask the Law Reform Commission to look at the area in future.

It’s a pity the interviewer didn’t ask about his decimation of the Equality Authority or Irish Human Rights Commission.  Also I think one can deduce from his imitation and reference to some critics that Ahern keeps lists of them for future reference.  Waves.

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