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Why was the Dublin NWCI women’s march such a flop?

When the National Women’s Council of Ireland threw a feminist event over the weekend, with the lineup of high profile groups and individuals involved, you’d assume we were all in for a barnstormer.

I mean, how could the event not draw a big crowd? The NWCI themselves say it’s been planned since March 2021 – an entire 12 months ago – and it was promoted by some of the wealthiest and most powerful organisations in our society.

There was representation from almost every political party in Leinster House – elected officials from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, Sinn Féin, Labour, the Social Democrats, the Socialist Party and People Before Profit were all there in one capacity or another.

In addition to this, we had many of the country’s top unions such as SIPTU, the ASTI, the Irish Congress, the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), and the Financial Services Union in attendance, as well as numerous student organisations.

And of course, what would such an event be without the NGO and charity sectors, which were massively represented by the NWCI itself, Pavee Point, Abortion Rights Ireland, Alliance For Choice, Women’s Aid Ireland, and many more such groups.

Note that the NGO sector in this country gets almost €6 billion euro a year guaranteed in taxpayer funding. In addition, it’s almost entirely comprised of shockingly leftwing people who are massively supportive of issues like feminism. Between all the organisations behind this, you’re easily talking about groups in receipt ot millions of euros to promote an event that’s been in the works for at least a year.

Not only that, but virtually all Covid restrictions are lifted, and it took place at the weekend at a reasonable hour.

Everything about this would indicate that this thing was meant to be huge. You’d expect tens of thousands in the streets – an absolute throng.

And yet, when the chips were down, how many people actually bothered to attend in the end?

Well, if you ask RTÉ and the Irish Times, a few hundred people turned up.

Hundreds protest to demand action on equality for women – RTÉ News

This is not according to the evil villain Ben Scallan of Gript Media infamy, mind you.

This is according to RTÉ journalist Laura Hogan, who has expressed support for a conference urging gender quotas for women in politics and liked a tweet about the elimination of the gender pay gap. Not to mention Jack Power of the Irish Times, who has shared articles asserting that “misognyny” was the driving force behind Ireland’s abortion ban. These are not people you could accuse of having a conservative or anti-feminist bias – far from it.

And yet, they report a mere few hundred made it, despite the juggernaut-like campaigning machine that was behind this event’s preparation. That is, objectively speaking, by any definition, a major flop.

So what exactly went wrong for the NWCI?

Well, having listened to the speeches myself from start to finish, one main takeaway is that much of the content and surrounding rhetoric was, quite clearly, fairly radical and off the wall.

Take, for example, the fact that multiple speakers repeatedly referred to “pregnant people” throughout the event and urged abortion services to be made more readily available to transgender and non-binary men. One speaker calling for these rights was even introduced as a “non-binary queer feminist.”

Now I’m going to go out on a limb here, right? I’m just spitballing, stop me if this is crazy.

But we’ve just come out of a brutal two year pandemic and lockdown. We’re facing a crippling energy and cost of living crisis. And we may be on the brink of a nuclear World War 3 scenario with Russia.

Is it conceivable that maybe people are not actually too worried about their uncle – a male – and his abortion rights? That maybe people have more pressing issues on their mind right now than their Dad’s potential to get pregnant?

Far be it from me to assume what people’s priorities are, but I’ll leave you to ponder that one yourself.

In fact, there were reports that one woman was bullied and heckled out of the event by the crowd for holding up a sign that said “biology does not equal bigotry.”

This is mad considering Mary Lou McDonald said during her speech that women had to fight for the “right not to be bullied out of any public platform” and was met with cheers from the same audience. Talk about irony.

The event also had a fairly Marxist motif from start to finish.

From Ivana Bacik referring to the crowd as “comrades,” to multiple speakers explicitly calling for the end of capitalism, and even the Communist Party of Ireland arriving in the crowd with red hammer and sickle flags, it was a sort of theme laced through the whole event.

The event was attended by supporters of Éirígí – a party which splintered from Sinn Féin because they believed the Shinners weren’t committed enough to Marxism – and whose members have been investigated on suspicion of alleged terrorist offences.

Ruth Coppinger even made reference to ROSA – a feminist socialist party inspired by Rosa Luxemburg, who was a Marxist terrorist that tried to overthrow the state.

The point of all this being, this was not really an event for “middle Ireland.”

In the interest of fairness and balance, I will say that one African speaker made a very good speech about the very real scourge of female genital mutilation in Ireland, mostly of young migrant girls, as well as human trafficking. That was certainly worth talking about and a real example of a threat to women which urgently needs to be addressed. So, like anything, the event had its moments.

But by and large, the tone was generally fairly out-of-touch with what ordinary people are worried about. Certainly, there was mention of some bread and butter issues like childcare costs, which is fair enough. But those were largely eclipsed by Mary Lou ranting about climate change and how “the writing is on the wall for the old order” and the “blight of theological dogma.”

If you are a Leftwing radical, who is already a member of one of these parties or organisations, and you’re a true believer in “The Revolution,” then this was the event for you. If you’re kept up at night tossing and turning about the fact that late term abortions aren’t readily available to trans men, and you include your farts when tallying up your carbon footprint, then you were probably all over this.

But if you’re a moderate or apolitical person, who worries about the rising cost of petrol, and how you’re going to pay your mortgage, you probably had more pressing worries on a Saturday. You likely weren’t interested in attending an event by a Women’s Council that can’t even define what a “woman” is.

Despite all their billions in funding, the NGO sector and political classes can barely scrape together a few hundred people for an event – even on an issue which should be popular. And that highlights a big divide between what these classes care about and the concerns of ordinary people.

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