Govt accused of ignoring Christian persecution

Ireland has ‘turned its back’ on Asia Bibi

The Government has been accused of being so obsessed about the historical dominance of the Catholic Church in Irish society that it is ignoring persecution facing Christians around the world today.

“While obsessing about the past dominance of the Catholic Church in Irish society, they have blinded themselves to the fact that most of the Christians facing persecution in the world today are among the poorest and the least politically powerful,” according to Fianna Fáil TD Colm Keaveney.

Its blatant disregard for persecuted religious minorities is endangering Ireland’s reputation as a champion of human rights, said Mr Keaveney, who singled out the case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman on death row for blasphemy since late 2010.

“In the case of Asia Bibi the Government seems to have taken an approach of doing the least possible in order to look like they are doing something, instead of actually working to achieve a resolution of the issue,” the Galway East TD said, adding that “this is evident not only in Asia’s case but also towards the other Christian communities facing persecution across North Africa, the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent, China and in North Korea.”


Trócaire, the Irish Church’s overseas development agency told The Irish Catholic: “The deteriorating security situation in the Middle East has led to the worst humanitarian crisis in a generation.

“Across the Middle East, the existence of many minorities, including Christians, is seriously threatened by the deepening conflict,” a spokesperson said.

Ireland should not fear speaking out on this issue, according to Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, who cited Ireland’s “long and proud history” of peacekeeping and charitable work, and said “our Government can exercise a moral leadership in attempting to bring the EU’s focus to bear on this issue”.

That moral leadership is, however, not being shown, he said, arguing that “there has been an appalling lack of protest about the ongoing and severe persecution being faced by Christian communities in the Middle East and North Africa”.

“Ireland was once to the fore of campaigning for human rights and traditionally demonstrated practical solidarity with persecuted minorities,” said Mr Keaveney.

“We are in danger of losing our reputation in this respect as our Foreign Affairs policy seems far more focused on trade than on humanitarian issues,” he said.