12 November 2010

'Can you ever gloss over the bad bits?'

RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcasting service, carried an interview with Dana on Sunday 7 November that will be available online till 28 November. Dana, born Rosemary Brown and now Mrs Scallon, has had a most unusual career. She represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970 when only 18 and won with the song All Kinds of Everything. The photo above is from around that time.

In 1991 she and her husband Damien began to work with EWTN in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1997 she ran as an independent for the ceremonial position of President of Ireland and came third. In 1999 she was elected as an independent Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for a five-year term.

Dana played a controversial role in the 2002 referendum in Ireland on the protection of life from conception. Though the Church, including the Vatican, had clearly signaled that Catholics could vote for the proposal, Dana and a small group of other pro-life people opposed it as not going far enough. Their votes helped defeat the proposed amendment to the Irish Constitution which now, in theory, allows abortion, where it didn’t before.

On the other hand, Dana met with a lot of hostility in the European Parliament because of her principled stand for the life of the unborn.

In the interview with Gay Byrne, one of Ireland’s top broadcasters, she comes across as a person of strong but quite Catholic faith, simple and open. When at the end she was asked what she would say to “God when she comes face to face with him, after a pause she said, with a smile, ‘Can you ever gloss over the bad bits?’

The interview, which runs for 26'30", is available online only until Sunday 28 November.

Dana singing All Kinds of Everthing in 1970.

Dana singing Totus Tuus, Totally Yours, which she and her husband wrote after the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ireland in 1979. Ironically, Dana wasn't in Ireland at the time.

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