Bishop Kevin Doran has accused the Government of being “incapable of any principle in the matter of respect for life”.
The Bishop of Elphin told The Irish Catholic that Taoiseach Enda Kenny was “simply trying to shift a monkey off his shoulder” by pledging to establish a citizens’ convention to discuss the repeal of the Eighth (Life Equality) Amendment.
“I think that this Government has shown itself to be incapable of any principle in the matter of respect for life or indeed respect for family. In proposing to set up a citizens’ convention, the Taoiseach is not looking for any truth in the matter of the right to life. He is simply trying to shift a monkey off his shoulder,” Bishop Doran said
Stating that the Oireachtas was in fact a citizens’ convention, Dr Doran said it “would not be appropriate for Government to by-pass the Oireachtas and hand over to an unelected body the responsibility for forming policy on the protection of human life”.
The bishop insisted that the Eighth Amendment had “saved thousands of lives” and that it was “essential to protect the life of the unborn”.
Dr Doran said his “first preference would be to see no change” to the Constitution. However, the bishop added that should there be a referendum he “would be urging Irish people of every political persuasion to firmly but politely put politicians under pressure because any society that is prepared to abort the babies of the nation isn’t deserving of the name civilised”.
Meanwhile, former Taoiseach John Bruton has said he would vote against any proposal to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Speaking on TV3’s Sunday:am, the former Fine Gael leader said: “I would vote against it. I think the Eighth Amendment says that human beings exist after birth and before birth and that a child in the womb is a human, and if it’s a human it has human rights, and I think the most basic human right of all is the right to be allowed to live.
“I think the Constitution, as is appropriate in a country that respects human rights, respects the human rights of both born and unborn,” he said.