Irish referendum was ‘bought’ with US cash
The National Catholic Register is claiming that the landslide vote for gay marriage in Ireland at the weekend – regarded my many as a ‘slap in the face’ to the Catholic Church – was the result of millions poured into the country ‘to effectively catalyze the homosexual-rights lobby’.
NCR reporter Victor Gaetan, wrote:
Ireland’s rush to permanently redefine marriage is a startling development for a country that legalized divorce only 20 years ago. How could the nation that ‘saved civilization’ precipitously decide to make its constitution ‘gender neutral’, especially in a section devoted to … the family?
He went on:
Key organizations opposing the radical change believe one answer can be found in the multimillion-dollar external financing program that has quietly poured money into Ireland to fund several homosexual-rights organizations since 2004, especially from US-based Atlantic Philanthropies.
Gaetan said that, although not as well known as the Gates Foundation, Atlantic has a similar pedigree: Billionaire businessman Chuck Feeney is giving away the fortune he made as co-founder of DFS airline duty-free shops.
He quoted Breda O’Brien, a Catholic columnist at The Irish Times as saying that between 2004 and 2014, Feeney’s foundation virtually created the gay-rights movement in Ireland, with direct investment of more than $17 million and “priceless” indirect support.
Last year, Atlantic Philanthropies produced a document explaining the many facets of movement-building support. “Catalyzing LGBT Equality and Visibility in Ireland, 2004-2013” described the programme’s four goals:
- Deliver legislative change on same-sex partnerships and transgender identity
- Expand “mainstream services” to include the LGBT community
- Develop organizational capacity; and
- Increase cohesion of the groups receiving funding.
To do that, Atlantic awarded multi-year grants, funded staff positions for organizations that, if they existed, had relied on volunteers and brought in international advisers.
For example, 10 years ago, GLEN was a volunteer organization with one paid employee, concentrating on HIV/AIDs prevention.
According to “Catalyzing LGBT Equality”, GLEN’s “multi-year grant from Atlantic enabled them to ramp up their work into a full-time highly professionalized lobbying machine.”
The report boasted:
As a result of Atlantic’s investment, enduring LGBT sector organizations are staffed with highly respected and skilled strategists, lobbyists, campaigners, marketing experts, program managers and community organizers.
A triumphant short film on campaign successes,accompanying the report memorably explains that Atlantic supports small human-rights organizations:
Vulnerable to traditional values.
O’Brien pointed out that while the Irish press is normally highly critical of foreign funding for domestic initiatives, Atlantic Philanthropies received no criticism or scrutiny. She called GLEN:
The most successful lobby group in Irish history.
She suggested that her fellow Irish citizens had convinced themselves the “Yes” campaign was the work of a grassroots movement:
Because if we admitted that it is instead a slick, elite movement of highly educated professionals funded from abroad we might have to admit we were skillfully manipulated.
And she concluded:
Can American money buy an Irish referendum? Let’s wait and see.
According to Gaetan, other foreign entities also contributed to the “Yes” cause (albeit in smaller amounts), including the Ford Foundation, the British Council, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the European Commission and California-based Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights.
And he pointed out the the Church did not take an overt stand with regard to the Irish marriage-definition referendum.
A spokeswoman for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin told the Irish Times on Wednesday it was not the archbishop’s policy:
To tell others how to vote except to stress that, given the importance of marriage and the family, decisions should not be taken lightly and that people should be informed of what is involved.
At least one Catholic priest, Father Tim Hazelwood, a parish priest in County Cork, even announced publicly his intention to vote Yes.
On May 23, as many “No” campaigners were conceding defeat in the referendum, the Catholic, pro-marriage group Iona Institute tweeted Mothers and Fathers Matter spokeswoman Eileen King’s message on Irish TV:
We were up against buzzwords and money.