Irish people still hold life very dear – Mickey Harte

Irish people still hold life very dear – Mickey Harte

Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte has said that despite the impression given by the media, he believes that most Irish people “still hold life very precious and very dear”.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic in advance of addressing the annual Ceiliuradh Cois Life dinner for pro-life education last Friday, he said that while the media delivers “agendas that suit them” and “it’s very easy for them to give us the common group think mentality”, he believes that most people are prepared to give the issue of abortion “fair balance”.

“There has been some work done by the pro-life people that showed that in a particular period of time it was 33 to 1 in the general media in terms of the pro-abortion view as opposed to the pro-life view. That’s what you’re up against but that’s not necessarily reflective of how the people of this country feel,” he said.

“I hope that we can bring that message to the people who haven’t had their voices heard. I think they will move to have their voices heard in whatever way they can and there are a lot people who still hold life very precious and very dear.”

Asked if the pro-life issue was important to him personally, he said he couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t be very important to everybody. “What more could you be concerned about than the life of an unborn child? I think it’s just unthinkable that people wouldn’t be concerned about it.”

Addressing the crowd at the dinner, Mr Harte the Eighth Amendment is “our greatest beacon of hope”. “It saves lives. Numerous mothers have changed their mind and owe their children’s lives to the Eighth Amendment. We need time to talk and reflect on any important decision and this is a life and death decision. Without the Eighth Amendment it becomes more of a death issue.”

He said the “pro-abortion lobby go to all lengths to give extreme cases to persuade people” but while “exceptional circumstances do occur they should not make the rule”.

In the face of the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment it is “easy to despair”, he said but he encouraged the crowd to be “people of hope motivated for life”. “We need to be energy growers not zappers and having a specific purpose can make a difference”.

Meanwhile, reflecting on his own faith and how he has passed it on to his children, Mr Harte told this paper that “faith has to be caught not taught”.

“I think that’s the best way to share your faith with anyone is to let them see you living your faith. And if you do your best and attend to your faith in the best possible way, have a presence of God in your house, have prayer in your house, I think the example is the best way. And people are more likely to do what you do, than do what you say.”

He said he believes that a lot of young people today are very faithful to their upbringing and sometimes even more energised about their faith than the generation before them. “I think in fact they can pass the Faith back up the chain again as well as adults passing it down. They can rekindle the Faith in their parents because a lot of them are very committed to it.”

Mr Harte said he has seen this first hand with his own children and with the young people attending the Michaela camps – summer camps for girls set up in memory of his daughter Michaela. “I think that we probably don’t give our young people credit a lot. There are some very good young people who are very committed to their faith and you see them in various places.”