The 12-week time limits on abortion elsewhere in both historically Catholic and historically Protestant Western Europe (where there is not an outright ban, as there was in Great Britain for the first generation of our own National Health Service, and as there almost still is alongside the NHS in Northern Ireland) are due to the consensus between, upon and around Christian Democracy and Social Democracy, once the twin pillars of One Nation Toryism, and now once again, as historically, the twin pillars of One Nation Labour.
That law is one of extremely few things left in the Irish Republic that could be said so to accord, but that accordance leads that country to have the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world, half that of Britain and one quarter that of London. A testament to caring that much more both for the mother and for the child.
The DUP and much or most of the UUP would never consent to abortion. Nor would the UUP, at least, ever consent to the exclusion of the Anglican, the mainstream Presbyterian and the Methodist bodies from their historic role in relation to certain schools. Thereby, even if only by default, saving the historic role of the Catholic Church in relation to certain other schools. On both of these issues, one wishes that one could still have the confidence in the SDLP that it was possible to presuppose even only very recently indeed.
But the Irish Republic never really was a Catholic country. Well into the 1960s, more than 40 years after Irish independence, Guinness refused to employ Catholics in any managerial capacity and was owned by the dynasty that provided four successive Conservative Members of Parliament for Southend, a town a mere 40 miles from the centre of London. The last one, a former Cabinet Minister under Margaret Thatcher, did not retire until 1997 and did not die until 2007. Everything that you probably think that you know about Ireland is wrong.
No even nominal Catholic was made Editor of The Irish Times until as recently as 1986, 64 years after independence. It is also notable that even in 2013 one of the Governors of The Irish Times Trust has the OBE while another has nothing less than the CBE; such, quite amusingly and very tellingly, is the Irish Republic's newspaper of record.
Today's discrimination in the Irish Republic, and it would seem also increasingly within political and cultural Republicanism in Northern Ireland, is in favour of wallowers in each others' published and unpublished, spoken and written misery memoirs of embittered ex-Catholicism.
They know their own to be packs of lies, and sometimes utterly preposterous, such as the supposed persistence of corporal punishment in schools decades after it had been abolished. But they assume everyone else's to be genuine. They therefore see themselves as somehow expressing a broader truth. And in any case, it is the only way to get on.
Far from there having been some taboo against criticising the Church until Mary Robinson became President in 1990, this sort of thing goes back at least to George Moore, and it has made the fame and fortune of many a mediocre to downright abysmal writer, with Frank McCourt only the latest in a very long line.
Moreover, being able to produce this drivel to interviewers is now the only way to become any sort of public or responsible figure in the Irish Republic. In the way that being a posh Protestant with a too-perfect upper-class English accent remained long, long, long after independence.