Thursday, April 05, 2012

Motion calling for Vatican embassy restoration passes

Controversial motions at the ard fheis were few and far between.

Delegates passed a motion calling on the Government to "restore the resident embassy accredited to the Vatican when economic circumstances permit".

The motion was put forward by the Longford/Westmeath constituency executive.

But Fine Gael ministers in Government had already said on numerous occasions that the embassy closure could be reviewed when economic circumstances improved.

So the motion does not signal any shift in Fine Gael policy or place any further pressure on the leadership over the issue.

Similarly, delegates passed a motion calling on the Government "to ensure that the Constitutional Convention prioritises an analysis of the proposals for same-sex marriage in Ireland".

But the Government had already committed to examining this issue in the convention.

Neither this commitment, nor the approval of the motion, necessarily means that Fine Gael will ultimately support same-sex marriage, however.

While coalition partners Labour have made clear that they support the introduction of same-sex marriage, Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said prior to last year’s general election that the issue was "not a priority" for his party.

There is likely to be significant resistance from the conservative wing of Fine Gael to same-sex marriage should the convention recommend its introduction.

Nonetheless, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) welcomed the approval of the ard fheis motion as another important step.

"The passing of [the] motion is a great step forwards in further building a political consensus for civil marriage for same-sex couples," said Kieran Rose of Glen.

"All political parties have now taken policy positions supportive of civil marriage for same-sex couples. This is a very welcome development and builds on the widespread acceptance and support for the civil partnerships that are taking place all across the country."

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