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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Youth Defence is telling lies, says minister

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

The Lisbon Treaty will in no way affect Ireland's position on abortion, Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said yesterday.

He accused Youth Defence of "telling lies" about the implications of the EU Reform Treaty.

The Minister said the Treaty continues to provide Ireland with absolute control with regard to the protection of the unborn.

"Member State policies with regard to abortion are clearly acknowledged as not being within the control of the EU. Nothing within the Charter of Fundamental Rights, or in the powers of the European Court of Justice, can affect Ireland's position on abortion," he said.

Minister Martin said these facts had not prevented others from seeking to generate fear.

"The worst offender by far is the Youth Defence front organisation Coir. In spite of operating from the same offices as Youth Defence, they have tried to claim that they have no connection. They have distributed a national leaflet which directly claims that Europe wants to force us to change our laws on the 'legalisation of prostitution and hard drugs, and abortion and euthanasia'," he said. "We have no intention of letting them away with their deeply cynical campaign."

According to Coir, the charter of fundamental human rights attached to the Lisbon Treaty "makes it certain that the European Court of Justice will have the power to insist that Ireland legalise abortion".

But Minister Martin insisted this was an incorrect interpretation of the Treaty. He accepted the issue was coming up in queries from voters because it was being highlighted by 'No' campaigners.

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