Special interest groups: Go mainstream

We have become so sensitive, so open to being offended, that it is almost impossible to comment on any cause, any lobby group, without causing unintended offence.

That reality, that unfortunate constraint, comes into play with the announcement that Dáil Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, is to consider facilitating the establishment of an LGBT Oireachtas group.

It is not to diminish LGBT rights, but rather to support them, to suggest that the time for parliamentary groups defined by gender, sexuality, colour, race or, say, an interest in greyhound racing, is long gone.

The concerns of any group are mainstream and that is where their voices should be and must be heard.

Subgroups defined by fate or personal interest also give reticent mainstream parties a handy pass-the-buck option to deflect troublesome issues they might prefer not to confront.

The proposal is no doubt motivated by the highest ideals, but, as can be seen on far too many fronts today, solidarity and determined in-the-tent participation were never more important.

United we stand, divided we fall, etc...

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