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Sinéad O’Connor gave voice to a new Ireland before we were ready

The singer was globally loathed for ‘the Pope episode’, from the US to the Dáil, but speaking out about the Catholic Church’s abuse of children when it was near-impossible to do so is perhaps her greatest legacy

Sinéad O’Connor, circa 1995: The singer-songwriter left an indelible mark on our culture. Picture: Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images/Getty

They hated her. She appalled them. The great and the good, the so-called respectable people. She was derided for daring to speak out.

In the Dáil in late October 1992, days after her now-infamous appearance on Saturday Night Live, Sinéad O’Connor became the target of ire of those decent people who pledged their blind allegiance to the Catholic Church, despite increasing rumblings over its child abuse conspiracies.

During a debate on censorship, Michael Finucane, Fine ...