There are times when the only proper response is a deep sigh. One such moment occurred this week when news broke that a body of the Council of Europe has told Ireland to decriminalise abortion.
It wasn't simply this on its own that caused the resigned shrug of the shoulders and sigh. It was the incredibly outdated, uninformed language used by the body in question. Backstreet abortions? Please. But there was also the fact that this is only the latest example of one or another international organisation pushing Ireland around, telling us to get with (their) programme, ordering us to move our social agenda in a decidedly left-wing direction regardless of the wishes of ordinary, Irish people.
I doubt if one person in 10 has heard of the Council of Europe, and even if they have, they probably think it's a part of the European Union, which it isn't. A few more people have probably heard of its most influential institution, namely the European Court of Human Rights. This court oversees the European Convention on Human Rights which has become part of Irish law and which Irish courts now defer to in their rulings.
A recent example of this was the Lydia Foy case. Foy is the dentist who underwent a 'sex change' operation and wanted her (his?) birth cert and other documentation altered to reflect her change from a man to a woman.
Technically, of course, it is impossible to change sex, especially retroactively. However, as a result of an interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights the Irish High Court found in Foy's favour and now it is up to the legislature to decide whether to follow suit.
The point of this story is to demonstrate that the Council of Europe, and more particularly the European Court of Human Rights has influence. It matters.
Will this latest offering from the council lead to abortion in Ireland? No, it won't. Not directly anyway. But it will increase the pressure a notch. It also makes it much more likely that one day the European Court of Human Rights will find our abortion law to be in breach of the convention, which will pile yet more pressure on Ireland to permit abortion.
The Council of Europe is not the only international organisation attempting to force Ireland into line with the international liberal/left consensus on 'human rights'. The United Nations is continually at it through myriad conventions which are always, but always, interpreted in a radical manner by social radicals used by the UN. More worryingly, but, alas, predictably, the European Union is at the same thing. Here is an excellent example that has received almost no publicity. The European Commission has accused Ireland of being in breach of an EU equality directive on multiple grounds.
It has begun an "infringement" process against Ireland that could result in us being hauled before the European Court of Justice and fined.
One of the grounds on which we are allegedly in breach of the equality law concerns faith-based schools, hospitals etc. At present, they have a right to protect their ethos and therefore are exempt from aspects of equality legislation.
What the exemption means is that they don't have to employ someone who might harm their ethos because of that person's life-style or beliefs.
But even though the EU recognises this exemption -- and it doesn't apply only in Ireland -- the European Commission is now telling us it is too broad and we must narrow it. To be fair to the Government, it is fighting back, but this is only slightly consoling.
The point is that the European Commission shouldn't be attempting this at all, but it is, and the direction in which it is pushing us is anti-religious freedom.
Needless to say, this is hardly a good ad for the Lisbon Treaty. If the EU is already abusing the powers it has, who in their right mind would want to give it even more powers? It turns out that every major international organisation of which we are a part, whether it be the EU, the UN or the Council of Europe, has a social agenda that is completely out of line with the wishes of probably a majority of Irish people.
In ways that are radically and deeply undemocratic, these organisations and their various off-shoots are using every means at their disposal to force us into line with their social agenda, an agenda that includes gay adoption, abortion, the limiting of religious freedom, and the overall imposition through State power of political correctness.
IIt's time we pushed back. It's time our politicians pushed back. From now on, whenever the UN, the EU, or the Council of Europe attacks our rightful sovereignty, whenever they attempt to abuse their power, whenever they try to force their politically correct agenda down our proverbial throats we need to tell them, in the politest way possible, to get stuffed.
We should start with the Council of Europe and its obnoxious bid to foist abortion on us.