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Letters to the Editor

Saddened by Mr Gibney's slant on upcoming referendum

Jim Gibney (March 19) highlights Mrs McAleese’s comments about the Church on international women’s day and makes use of that as a platform to discuss the role of women in Irish politics. It is good that a commentator should discuss the role of women in Irish politics, especially around international women’s day. However, a substantial portion of Mr Gibney’s column was focused on the upcoming referendum in the south, and I am saddened by the slant that Mr Gibney puts on the issues involved. Mr Gibney notes that the insertion of the Eighth Amendment came after a campaign concerned about the liberalisation of society surrounding divorce, contraception and abortion. But simply because the amendment came as a result of such discussions, does not mean that those who seek to uphold the amendment also have such concerns. The pro-life movement unites a number of people who have a broad spectrum of disagreement, particularly over some of the issues that Mr Gibney mentions. And this is because such people, irrespective of their views on other issues, agree that the life of the unborn child is of equal value to that of the mother – that both lives matter and should be protected by the state. This is not, as Mr Gibney claims, the state seeking to exercise control of women’s bodies, as the unborn child is not a part of the woman’s body; rather it is protecting the lives of members of society, which is surely the role of any government. Equal recognition of the right to life of both mother and baby may indeed in rare cases present complicated scenarios that medical professionals have to deal with and Mr Gibney is right that this can cause uncertainty in how to approach such cases. But there is no more uncertainty in the case of mother and baby than there is in cases where strained hospital resources have to deal with an influx of patients. Neither situations require for their resolution a denial of the right to life, or legal protections, of those subject to such a right;
rather just some guidelines based on the principle of double effect (that a course of action can be taken the direct intention of which is not to end the life of one subject to a right to life but whose unintended
yet foreseeable consequence is that such could occur) need to be put in place.Like many commentators Mr Gibney fails to point out that under current law necessary medical treatment is never withheld from a woman because she is pregnant and that Ireland continues to rank very highly internationally for good maternal healthcare. He also fails to highlight the dire effects that withdrawing legal protection for unborn babies has had in other countries such as the UK.

I am however heartened that Mr Gibney recognises the huge support that the pro-life movement continues to have in Ireland, and this as evidenced by the 100,000 people who marched in Dublin on March 10 in support of keeping the Eighth Amendment.
It is good to note that this is the mood of Irish society and that simply because groups of people disagree over other social issues such as those Mr Gibney mentions, they are united over the need to love, support and cherish both mother and baby and save the eight amendment.

Dr GAVEN KERR
Belfast BT8

 

Religion is for the place of worship or the home

At a time when the common consensus appears to [thankfully] be that society must move on from the sectarian divisions that have ruptured Ireland, it seems that there are those determined to remain wedded to, if not mired in, the antiquated mind-sets that still aggressively promote a particular theology.

Take RTE for instance. Here we have a state broadcaster that still sets aside time each day, at the expense of all licence holders, to promote the Angelus –  a Catholic ritual. What message does this approach send out to any upon this island who are not Catholic? I am not merely referring the Protestant population, in particular those who reside in the six counties and who will have their fears of ‘popish’ domination strengthened and justified, but also those who are not Christian. Ireland has an increasing number of those who are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh, Mormon, Pagan and Atheist. But can it be said that due respect is given to any who do not conform to a Christian perspective. To merely pay lip-service to the idea of a separation of Church and state is patronising at best.

With this in mind  I ask what message The Irish News sends out each Thursday when there are two full pages of Christian, or pseudo-Christian, propaganda? Surely an established publication such as The Irish News has the courage and wisdom to shake off the religious shackles of an unfortunate past and embrace our future in a mature and progressive manner. If not, then they may stand accused of a self-defeating policy of unnecessary theological adherence

Religion is for the place of worship and/or the home. If the rest need remain secular to ensure equality and mutual respect throughout society, then so be it.

ANTÁN Ó DÁLA AND RÍ
Newry, Co Down

 

Gold mining is issue of huge importance

The previous two MPs for West Tyrone have held different positions on the biggest planning issue in this constituency, the Dalradian gold mine.
In December 2014 the Financial Times reported that Pat Doherty believed the mine had the support of the majority of people in the area and should go ahead, saying, “This is a rural mountain area of small farmers. Employment would be very much required.”

Barry McElduff took an opposite position in April 2016 in Greencastle when he signed a pledge stating “I will do everything in my power and to the best of my ability to oppose gold mining... in the Sperrins area of outstanding beauty.”

At this critical juncture in the planning process where letters of objection are being sought and submitted to the authorities by protectors of the Sperrrins, it is surely incumbent on the Sinn Féin parliamentary candidate to state her position on this issue of huge importance to the economic, social and environmental future of West Tyrone.

CIARAN McCLEAN
Green Party, West Tyrone

 

Absolutely ridiculous

It was with disgust that I read that the Vatican was once again treating the people of the north like ‘lepers’. Does a shepherd herding his sheep on the mountain let a quarter of his flock fall off the cliff? The Republic is mostly to blame for this charade.
They should be reminding the Pope of the situation in Ireland.

JOHN MATTHEWS
Lurgan, Co Armagh 

 

Quinn family want justice for their son

Having read Conor Murphy’s story about the dreadful abuse he suffered at the hands of Malachy Finegan which was very, very wrong, no child should have to go through such abuse by a man in power. Conor Murphy was in power when our son Paul Quinn was savagely beaten to death and is still in power.

He must come out and tell the truth about who murdered Paul.

Conor Murphy said he is angry that no-one in authority stopped Finegan’s reign of abuse. We too are angry that no-one in the IRA stopped the murder of our Paul. We ask Conor Murphy to get us justice for our son.

THE QUINN FAMILY
Cullyhanna, Co Armagh  

 

Political policing

There can be no excuses for the violence in Derry over Easter but it would have been better if the PSNI had kept their distance. Why they did not intervene in the unlawful and threatening parade by masked UDA paramilitaries in Bangor as reported in The Irish News, if they are seriously saying they are there to uphold the law impartially?

FRANCIS RICE
Belfast BT11 

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