One of the country's most outspoken Catholic bishops has warned the Government against any attempt to repeal the Constitution's pro-life 8th amendment, describing any such move as "anti equality".
peaking to the Irish Independent, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin said Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution enshrines the equal right to life of the mother and the child. He hit out at the judgment in the X case as "fundamentally flawed" claiming that, although it had found that both the mother and unborn child are equal, "one is not as equal as the other".
Dr Doran was speaking ahead of this weekend's National Eucharistic Congress which will see up to 4,000 Catholic faithful descend on Knock shrine for workshops and talks on issues such as the family, marriage, the refugee crisis and the environment.
"I think there will be a good crowd," Bishop Doran said. He said the Knock Hotel has been booked out since May, as have many of the B&Bs in the area.
The papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, as well as the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, are due to give keynote addresses. Pope Francis yesterday sent a special Apostolic Blessing to the faithful of Ireland for the congress, which opens this morning in Knock.
In his message, the Pontiff asked the faithful to seek to "build a world that is ever more just and reconciled".
The National Eucharistic Congress follows on from the International Eucharistic Congress, which was hosted in Dublin in 2012.
Bishop Doran said the congress is focused on issues which are current in the Church today.
"Obviously one of the things we are trying to do is to reflect on the focus of the synod in Rome, on the vocation and mission of the family and support for family life," he said.
He said the congress will look at the theme of mercy in the Church's response to refugees, care for women in crisis pregnancies and "how we respect the unborn".
"Sometimes people think of Christian morality as very much focused on issues like respect for the life of the unborn and the refusal of euthanasia. The life of the unborn is sacred. That is something that is shared by many people around the world, it is not just a 'Catholic thing'."