Now that the dust is settling on the Irish general election results it is clear that the pro-life vote made a significant impact on the election. There has been a sea change in the political establishment in Ireland brought about primarily by the financial collapse of the Irish nation but the unreported fact is that this was also partly brought about by the switching of allegiances of pro-life voters from Fianna Fail to the former main opposition party Fine Gael making them by far the largest party in the State, while not quite handing them an overall majority.
Picture shows Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny who will be Toaiseach (Prime Minister) of the incoming government
At the time of writing some recounts are still in progress however the final outcome appears to be Fine Gael 76 seats, Labour 37 seats, Fianna Fail 20, Independents 15 seats and Sinn Fein 14 seats. An overall majority would require a minimum of 83 seats leaving Fine Gael 7 seats short of this. Clearly however Fine Gael has options other than forming a coalition government with Labour
In the lead up to the election the entire pro-life movement, united by the threat of the Labour party to introduce legislation for abortion on demand, and having received assurances from the Fine Gael party that in Government they would uphold the right to life of the unborn pro-lifers gave them massive support.
Labour leader Eamonn Gilmore as if to underline his commitment to legislating for abortion chose Ivana Bacik, a high profile campaigner for abortion on demand as his running mate in the very liberal Dunlaoghaire Rathdown Constituency. Opinion polls in November/December had shown Labour as enjoying 27-30% of the popular vote however following his announcement that he would legislate for abortion support for the Labour party began to drop.
The outcome of the election showed some gains for Labour however the major breakthrough hoped for by Gilmore, did not materialize and in the final analysis Labour support was under 20%. There is no doubt but that this was largely due to the very effective campaign run by pro-lifers nationally and particularly in his constituency.
The effects of the campaign by pro-lifers can best be seen by the fact that Ivana Bacik failed to win a seat despite being on the same ticket as her party leader. In contrast the other party leaders succeeded in ensuring that their running mates were elected when their surpluses were distributed. Enda Kenny the Fine Gael leader succeeded in ensuring three of his party colleagues were elected while Michael Martin the Fianna Fail leader whose party takes the brunt of the blame for the economic turmoil still succeeded in having one party colleague elected in his constituency.
The pro-life movement is pleased that Fine Gael has a substantial majority of seats in the Dail (Irish Parliament) but would have preferred an overall majority to ensure that they could rule without the involvement of another party. Despite other available options which would be preferred by pro-lifers the Fine Gael party is currently discussing formation of a coalition government with the pro-abortion Labour party. There is no doubt that this will present future challenges for the pro-life movement and for the unborn in particular. It is to be hoped that Gilmore will have got the message that his threat to legislate for abortion is completely unacceptable to the Irish people and that Kenny on the other hand will live up to the promises made during the election campaign
The pro-life movement is united in opposing the gravest threat to the unborn since the passing of the original pro-life amendment in 1983 and in opposing the ruling of the European Court in the ABC case. Fine Gael garnered substantial pro-life support because they promised to protect unborn human life and must be held to that promises they made.