Thursday 27 October 2016

How to avoid the polarisation of the abortion debate

Published 12/10/2016 | 02:30

Protesters taking part in a recent ‘Repeal the Eighth’ march in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Protesters taking part in a recent ‘Repeal the Eighth’ march in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Some academic legal commentary seems to point to the conclusion that simply repealing Article 40.3.3° by removing it will effectively lead to abortion on demand.

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Even some in favour of the repeal recognise this.

Perhaps the solution is to formulate the terms of a Constitutional Amendment as follows.

Remove Article 40.3.3°.

Add a new Article which acknowledges the right to life of the unborn but allows the termination of a pregnancy which is the result of rape or incest.

Allow the termination of a pregnancy where there is a risk of maternal suicide (as per the X case ruling).

Allow termination of a pregnancy where there is medically proven foetal fatal abnormality.

Overall, Article 40 covers Personal Rights. It is very strong on personal liberty; it sets out in detail the procedure to be followed where a person is allegedly being unlawfully held by the State, rather than leaving such procedure to be legislated for by the Oireachtas.

The Eighth Amendment has led to unforeseen consequences and to grave dilemmas in certain situations.

Perhaps the only way forward in light of those who are opposed to abortion on demand - like myself - and those who support it, and the undeniable need to deal with tragic scenarios as outlined, is to enshrine the exact wording in the text of the Constitution.

Otherwise, we will yet again have a polarised campaign resulting in another 'black and white' Amendment which will resolve nothing. Feelings run very high on both sides and indeed amongst those in the middle.

Larry Dunne

Rosslare Harbour, Co Wexford

God bless our Government

On the day after our Budget day, let us give thanks to such a caring and protective Government.

I know they will make the right decisions, and that they have our best interests at heart.

I know it's tough for them to live on the pittance they receive in remuneration, and therefore have no problem in them taking money off me so they can survive. In the economic jungle, survival of the fattest is of paramount importance. Please bring in a sugar tax so I can live more healthily. And that free fresh air should be taxed as well.

Once again many thanks for helping me to lose my belly fat by not eating so much. And all that exercise I get doing push-ups in my front room to stay warm due to the heating being off. It has me all muscled. Anything I can do to keep the recovery going is all yours.

God bless you! You are all living saints.

Anthony Woods

Ennis, Co Clare

We owe more to abuse victims

The sentencing in the Central Criminal Court on Monday of a father following the repeated rape of his son over several years was the conclusion of a case which has variously been described as "horrific", "deplorable", and "tragic".

However, the tragedy lies not just in the unspeakable suffering by the child throughout his childhood, but in the fact that the hurt did not end there. It has been reported that the child was placed in a foster home and was again subjected to sexual abuse, at a time when he was in the State's care.

One of the most important obligations we have to children who disclose abuse is to keep them safe, to end the hurt where we can, and to do our best to help them live their childhood. In this case, we failed to protect the child by placing him in danger. Thankfully, he eventually found solace in foster care, and this enabled him to seek justice. However, the case has ended on the saddest of notes - the young person in question no longer lives in Ireland, as we do not have in place the specialist care he requires.

We owe this young person a great debt for disclosing his abuse, presenting his case and providing a victim impact statement to the court. It is not good enough that in return, we cannot provide this brave young person with care, attention and love, in the country he calls home.

Grainia Long

Chief executive, Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Shopping and the Border

The recent sharp decline in the value of Sterling has generated stories of shoppers flocking over the Border to take advantage of cheaper prices in the North.

The real story, however, is rather one of retailers 'down south' protecting their already high margins and refusing to lower their prices in recognition of the fact that a lot, if not the majority, of the goods they sell are sourced from the UK and are hence now costing them less. Leaving aside the odd percentage differences in VAT, in theory it shouldn't matter which side of the Border you buy goods from.

What matters is that UK manufacturers are becoming more cost-competitive versus their Irish counterparts, which, if it persists, will be bad news in the longer term for employment prospects in Ireland.

RA Blackburn

Abbey Hill, Naul, Co Dublin

Trump's publicity machine

Regarding Mr Trump, and to quote Abraham Lincoln once more, "What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself."

Paddy Mhéime

Conamara, Co na Gaillimhe

Public-sector pay restoration

In your front-page story and editorial on Monday October 10, you implied that the restoration next year of the third FEMPI cut, which applied uniquely to those earning over €65,000 in the public service (including politicians), is less than fair.

This type of commentary reinforces our long-stated position that the link between politicians and public-sector pay must be broken in order for our members to be treated objectively in public-sector pay deliberations.

The AHCPS represents over 3,000 senior civil servants and managers in the civil service and semi-state sector. Our research shows that assistant principal officers pay levels are 20pc behind the private sector equivalent, and for principal officers (the salary scale that matches TDs) that rises to 30pc. Since the recession began, our members have been disproportionately targeted and pay levels are now back at 2002 rates.

These men and women are tasked with running our government departments and their contribution to the recovery cannot be overstated. If we want to attract and retain the best candidates to these important roles, they must be afforded a salary that is equivalent to a role of similar responsibility in the private sector.

The recently established Public Service Pay Commission has been designed for that purpose and we look forward to its findings. In the meantime, our members are due pay restoration as committed to by Government in the Lansdowne Road agreement.

Ciaran Rohan

General secretary, AHCPS

Irish Independent

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