The long shadow of a potential referendum

The long shadow of a potential referendum
The “Taoiseach…has just moved heaven and earth to try to reduce the constitutional protection now enjoyed by the unborn”, writes Michael Kelly

The Government has given strong indications that it will hold a referendum on abortion next year. Truth be told, we’ve known for some time that politicians are minded to hold a referendum that would threaten the right to life of unborn children currently enshrined in the Irish Constitution. There has been a campaign, lavishly funded from abroad by foreign billionaires such as George Soros, for some time to convince politicians that the time is right for abortion.

The Citizens’ Assembly – a very odd thing in a representative democracy where citizens elect their representatives to a parliament – was really just an elaborate ploy to give the Government plausible deniability around the issue of abortion. “We’re only doing what the people want” will be the cry of politicians who support abortion as they march through the Dáil chamber to vote for a referendum to be held.

The poll – if it does indeed go ahead – will cast a shadow over the World Meeting of Families and the expected visit of Pope Francis. Senior figures have told this newspaper this week that the visit might even be in doubt. They are reluctant to see the Pontiff catapulted into a difficult situation where he may have to have tea and buns with a Taoiseach who has just moved Heaven and Earth to try to reduce the constitutional protection now enjoyed by the unborn.

The Church will have a responsibility to mount a vigorous campaign against abortion – anything less would be an act of cowardice. But, at the same time, the Church will be trying to call attention to the themes of the World Meeting of Families. Amidst the noise of any referendum campaign, it will be hard for the Church to keep focused on the event.