If fear is your only arsenal, you’ve lost already

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

“Hi Dave. I want to write about the 8th, so I‘m checking with you about balance.”

The Chief Editor rested his bearded chin in his hand.

“Balance isn’t an issue this time around, Charlie, but, oh, can you try not to be too emotive?”

“No, don’t think I can do that. Erm, how about I avoid being dogmatic?”

Dave laughed, sighed the sigh of a good man conflicted, and nodded in agreement.

I was free to write what I wanted.

First, however, I had to solve a mystery.

When I arrived in Ireland in 1992, there was an abortion referendum campaign in progress. Back then a hardcore liberal, I felt no doubt. Of course the Irish should vote Yes.

To my disbelief, I discovered that the referendum wasn’t offering that option, but three questions: should a woman be allowed to leave the country; should a phone number remain illegal and should the life of the mother be considered equal with that of her unborn child?

I’d been around the planet a couple of times, seen societies ancient and modern, but never anywhere that aspired to be the latter so mired in the former.

Confused, I found myself falling in love with the West of Ireland at exactly the same time I discovered there was in this country neither divorce nor contraception; that less than 20 years previously, married women had not been allowed to work.

Shocked to my core, armed with a massive ignorance of all things Irish and a spanky new newspaper column, I dedicated the second and third Double Visions to the abortion issue.

Then came the backlash. The dog turd in the box. The envelope loaded with used condoms. Then some nutter threatened to bomb the Connacht Tribune building, and finally, City Tribune Editor Mike Glynn had a word in my shell-like, advising me not to write about the same thing again.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.