Letters in yesterday Irish Times in response to Vincent Twomey's opinion piece. earlier in the week.
Sir, – The Rev Dr Twomey’s opinion piececontained many offensive implications – the No voters had “reason” on their side, the Yes voter lacked “critical thinking and moral courage”, the Yes voter was influenced by a postcolonial inferiority complex, the Yes voter was a sentimental buffoon, “too kind-hearted for one’s own good”, as the French, apparently, say (“Sentiment subdued reason in marriage referendum”, (Opinion & Analysis, June 15th). However, what is most apparent to me is the irony that an article which questions the intellectual capacity of the majority of voters in this country could be so incoherently argued.
Reasons as to why the Yes voter was wrong are pitched at the reader with the grace and style of a game of pin the tail on the donkey. The opening sentence reads, “The marriage referendum was paradoxically won/lost thanks to the best in Irish Catholicism”. What? Later we read, “in the end, the heart triumphed, thanks to what is best in Irish Catholicism”. But then we read, “Honesty, truthfulness and endurance in the face of the majority who think differently are more associated with Irish Protestants than with Irish Catholics.” I was confused. Is it good to be a Catholic, or bad?
We are told that our postcolonial inferiority rendered us subject to flattery and/or intimidation, but later, praise for our physical courage comes from “observers” who “have noted that when it comes to physical courage (as in sport or soldiers) few can beat us”. Who are these observers? Are they the same outsiders from whom we seek approval? Or different outsiders?
Threaded through the spurious justification that the minority No voters have the intellectual and moral higher ground is a more insidious suggestion that victims and relatives of clerical abuse were shocked into a sympathetic gesture in solidarity with their gay children.
The author puts the word “gay” in inverted commas so we can understand that it’s not really a genuine condition, I presume.
We are also informed that Pope Francis is prone to an “easily misunderstood quip”.
Dr Twomey’s piece is offensive for many reasons, but one would at least hope for an intellectual, articulate defence of his opinion and not a piece in which scattergun meanderings and contradictory statements abound. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – Seven longish critical letters (June 16th) responding to the Rev Dr Vincent Twomey. Might I restore some balance? Dr Twomey expressed a reasonable, well-stated opinion on the referendum result. When everyone is agreeing, the truth often suffers. – Is mise,
An Charraig Dhubh,
Baile Átha Cliath.
Sir, – On Tuesday, your letter page facilitated a seven to nil unfavourable to favourable response to Prof Twomey’s analysis, whose verdict was that sentiment trumped reason in the marriage referendum. The instinct for damage limitation displayed reminded me of nothing as much as the resort to packed defences in favour with some Ulster GAA teams. And evidence, if needed, of the media partisanship intimated by the professor!
The best that can be said for the Yes defenders is that they sniped around the edges of the professor’s balanced and objective take on the campaign. This is reminiscent, indeed, of the Yes strategy in the campaign of appealing to the personal and the emotional to the near exclusion of the rational and the objective.
The heart’s concerns are fair game for manipulation when there are many who have every cause not to rely on reason. But pity the country that spurns a mindful evaluation in favour of emotivism. – Yours, etc,
Killarney, Co Kerry.
Sir, – David Harte (June 16th) rightly criticises The Irish Times for allowing Vincent Twomey to place the words gay, out, equality and human rights in quotation marks. The effect was to delegitimise those terms. – Yours, etc,
Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.
Sir, – The “Reverend” Vincent Twomey, “moral” theologian. Strange effect those inverted commas have, isn’t it? – Yours, etc,