I know very little about Verona Murphy, the independent candidate who just took a seat in Wexford in Election 2020, apart from the fact that she was unceremoniously dumped by Fine Gael when she made some remarks about immigration that caused a media furore. 

In fairness to Murphy, any comment on immigration tends to cause a furore in Ireland, since we have neither the maturity nor the courage to have a reasonable discussion on the issue. Take the media frenzy that descended on Oughterard, for example, when locals protested the imposition of a direct provision centre which was being purposed without any consultation with the people of the area.

Everyone who thought that local people had a right to be consulted was declared a ‘racist’ or a backward-thinking low-life according to the usual mob on twitter, in the establishment media, and amongst the politicians in the Dáil.

Noel Grealish, the Independent TD for Galway, was excoriated for saying that economic migrants were not refugees, and for using the word “spongers” during a heated public meeting on proposals to open a direct provision centre in Oughterard.

Clearly voters, while they may not have liked the use of the word ‘sponger’, thought Grealish had a point. Despite polls and commentary suggesting he was in trouble, he retained his seat comfortably last week – and received considerably more first preferences than others in his constituency who had criticised him.

But back to Verona Murphy, and to the strange notion that only the right kind of woman with the right kind of views deserves to be elected – or even have an opinion at all according to the feminist quangos which are getting great dollops of public funding because they claim to represent all Irish women.

One of those feminist NGOs is Women for Election. They say they are non-partisan and that their aim is simply to increase the number of women standing for election.

“Women for Election is a not-for-profit organisation which encourages and supports women in Ireland to run for politics. We’re non-partisan, meaning we don’t take sides with specific parties or beliefs. We want to see women from all walks of life and political philosophies to think about running for in Local, General, European and Seanad elections,” according to their website.

That sounds both admirable and fair. If there are barriers to women standing for election, let’s remove those if we can. Whether women want to get involved in politics is another matter, but certainly, for those who do, a non-partisan body which encourages women to stand is probably a good thing.

Except, as ever, Women for Election have shown that’s not really the case. They’re not looking to support women, just the right kind of woman, because diversity of opinion is absolutely not welcome in the sisterhood it seems.

When Verona Murphy took the seat in Wexford last weekend, Women for Election tweeted their congratulations, just as they did for every other female candidate who was victorious in Election 2020.

“Congratulations to Verona Murphy” they said, in the same manner that they had congratulated far-left TDs like Joan Collins and Bríd Smith

But that wasn’t allowed!  Murphy, despite being elected by the people of Wexford, was just the WRONG kind of woman.

She was “racist” and awful and just plain dreadful, screeched the liberals on Twitter in their usual illiberal way. A Dangerous Woman with possibly Dangerous Opinions, and, worst of all, a woman who seemed both unafraid to speak her mind and was brazenly insistent on having her say. Down with that sort of thing.

(Murphy, for the record, says she is not racist and that her views are being misrepresented in the media, and her concerns are prompted by the failure of the state to properly police potential terrorist threats from groups supportive of ISIS.)

Women for Election caved before the hysterics, of course, apologising ‘unreservedly’ for their grievous and most terrible error.

Then, to add to the pathetic grovelling, they thanked the people who were bullying them in the first instance.

So much for admiring ‘dangerous’ women, or for encouraging women to be independent-minded or brave or feisty. What we’re seeing instead is that women who don’t subscribe to a a very precise vision of what a good feminist should be are outside the pale politically.

Modern feminism, it seems, is just as formulaic, prescriptive, and downright dictatorial as anything that went before it. Women who were unafraid to speak their minds used to be fairly common in Ireland. Now they’re increasingly being silenced by unelected feminists who want us all to be like clones of them, rather than interesting people with interesting opinions and the ability to make up our own minds.

Women for Election received €62, 296 in taxpayer funding in 2018. They say the funding was “a game changer, allowing us to invest in our communications infrastructure.” If that meant upping their Twitter game, they failed pretty spectacularly.

Much like the National Women’s Council, they seem to be just another feminist quango with a very narrow view of what women should think or how women should behave. The real question is why we ordinary, sensible women are forced to pay for this nonsense?