Portmarnock, does my face look bothered?

8 11 2009

“Am I bothered?, Does my face look bothered though?” Good question.
A few folk with bothered faces emerged from the Supreme Court last week. Some distinctly unhappy with the verdict,  proceedings of which were initiated no less than 6 years ago, a prolonged battle, regarding Section 9 of the Equal Status Act. It seems an elite few of the men folk of this island are making a stand and marking their territory. That territory being Portmarnock Golf Club, established 1894, with now 662 members and 625 associated members. On the face of it, the Supreme Court action of The Equality Authority v Portmarnock Golf Club , could be the right and virtuous stand of a much maligned social demographic (the well-heeled women of Dublin) against a very sinister elite (the well-heeled men of Dublin). These pillars of society, captains of industry, and leaders of men (or fat cats on the fattest side of fat) are greedily and nefariously coveting the lion’s (as opposed to the lioness’) share of Ireland’s top jobs. Their secret weapon being, that they are card-carrying members of the tabernacle of the holy grail. Or could it be that like so many controversies, what the general public perceive as a righteous demand for equity and reform, is in fact a grudge match of gargantuan proportions. Someone is ticked off with a man (or men in general) and they couldn’t let it lie…
Rowley Birkin “Are you disrespecting me?” Clearly there are those who feel acutely affronted by being prevented from joining a gender specific golf club. Cited in this (yawn) ground breaking case were various aspects of Article 40 of our constitution, which deals predominantly with our fundamental rights as citizens of this land. “All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.” Discrimination on the basis of gender would contravene Article 40 section 1 of our constitution.

“Are you calling me a pikey?” Now there’s a good point. Article 40.6.2 clearly states that “Laws regulating the manner in which the right of forming associations and unions and the right of free assembly may be exercised shall contain no political, religious or class discrimination.” I wonder how many members of the better heeled traveling community are members of Portmarnock Golf Club? Pavee Point, you might want to get on that….???

“Are you saying my dad’s a wino?” Discrimination on the basis of disease or disability or that of a family member would also be a breach of fundamental rights under Article 40. Another section of the Article cited in this kerfuffle, the right of assembly Article 40.6.1 (ii) “The right of the citizens to assemble peaceably and without arms”, was used by the defendants to rebut the Equality Authority allegations of all kinds of breeches. The right to assemble being one of great value to any self-respecting democratic nation. No matter how one interprets this little Supreme Court spat, it seems equally hard to swallow the reasoning behind either side of the argument.

Are we really that bothered? Which is more pointless? The relentless pursuit of a bunch power-hungry blokes to whack a little hard ball around a course, where female membership is taboo, or the relentless pursuit of a bunch of power-hungry gals to achieve a ruling that states they may become members if they so wish? Will membership of Portmarnock Golf Club really empower these women so substantially as to grease the wheels of their career stagecoach into the Dodge City of Irish politics/property development/banking/the higher echelons of the legal profession ie the Judiciary? Or would those whose time and effort could make a difference not be better advised to focus on more compelling front line issues? Anyways, us “ladies” need all the time we can claw back to practice our domestic godessry. Innit?





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