The Irish will be voting on May 25th in a referendum that could force their government to introduce legislation that would legalize abortion for the first time since 1983. Polling shows it is likely that those who favor abortion legalization will win the referendum. Most of those voters are primarily located in the urban areas of the country. But, one Irish novelist says that the way the ‘Dublin media’ has treated rural voters with disdain could spark a backlash that forces pro-life voters to the polls for a surprise upset similar to Donald Trump’s United States presidential victory in 2016.
Irish author Patrick McCabe told The Guardian that, “The referendum is going to be interesting, and it is going to be tight. The Dublin media look upon the people from places such as where I am from like ‘local colour’; they are the types who they’d like to have at the party but would never like to see them having a ring around their daughter’s finger. They look down on these people for their uncouthness and boorishness; they say the same kind of things that their media counterparts in America would say about the deep south.”
“It may be their big statement in the way that Trump was in America. Isn’t that what happened when the centre of that country voted against the sophisticated types?" He continued, “I really don’t like this finger-wagging from the media elite. I don’t like the primness of it, and the liberals are very good at this primness. Maybe that is what the boy in the tractor in the rural parts of Ireland will look on and say, ‘If you keep wagging that finger, I will bite it off.’”
McCabe, who says he is no fan of President Trump’s policies, says that he understands why voters cast their support for the man. The author was traveling in America during that time, and said he understood the plight of conservative Americans who held different moral codes than America’s own coast elite and metropolitan elite.
“I was in America at that time when Trump was campaigning, and emotionally my sympathies were far and away with the people who voted for him," he said. "Intellectually, there is no way I would support him, but I could understand the motive as to why ordinary people were voting for him. If you look at these movements against what Trump stands for currently, they always seem to be middle class and bourgeois; there don’t seem to be many cleaners among them."
“When I was in America I can remember meeting this man of the land with an old straw hat driving a flatbed truck. He was talking away to me about an old world that my father would have recognised. He had certain moral codes and told me he no longer felt he had a place in the present world now. I am not one of these twittering liberals who say all is ruined. There is a great friend of mine who is a folklorist from America, who has just spent a long time in [County] Fermanagh."
“He is a mountain man from Virginia and is renowned across the United States. I remember being with him when I was over there, and he twisted the ends of his moustache one day and said to me, ‘We’ve got a problem because the Democrats are just too sweet and wholesome. They don’t know the one end of a gun from the next!’. So I wasn’t surprised by Trump getting in – but, besides, at 63 years of age, what else is going to surprise me?”
It is this perspective that has allowed McCabe to see similairities in his own people.
“My people come from County Tyrone and I spent a lot of my time in County Longford. I have to tell you they are very similar people to the so-called redneck areas of the United States. It’s all about the language for me more than anything else. My aunts all spoke in that kind of metaphor language, things like ‘He drove his pigs to the wrong market thon boy’, and you hear that kind of stuff in parts of America too," he told media.
“There is a bar in Scotstown in County Monaghan I know where the characters could easily fit into somewhere in the Appalachian mountains,” McCave remarked.
The upcoming Irish referendum is on article 40.3.3, better known as Ireland’s 8th amendment. This grants unborn babies as much of an equal right to life as the mother. In 1983, the country held a referendum which established this amendment. In a month and half, if Ireland votes to repeal that law, the government has promised to introduced legislation legalizing abortion with some limitations.