Tuesday 17 September 2019

We are getting incomplete information in abortion debate

Dr Peter Boylan. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins
Dr Peter Boylan. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Dr Peter Boylan's contribution to the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment appears to have been one of the more aggressive and arrogant versions of the recent 'Trust me, I'm a doctor' efforts.

Given the repeated failures by consultants over the years, hepatitis C and symphysiotomy to mention just two, and the fact that termination would have been fully legal in the Savita Halappanavar case, he might have explained why the hospital involved was not prepared to properly deal with this known, if not very common, problem.

Neither his contribution nor that of Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran addressed the issue of what rights the unborn child might be allowed, if any.

Dr Rhona Mahony is someone who was very good to us at some difficult times and whom we hold in very fond regard. The contribution on this debate by her and Professor Fergal Malone was more measured and presented genuine dilemmas faced by doctors. Unfortunately, it was also very incomplete and left a lot of issues open.

Dr Mahony and Prof Malone blend two separate issues: genuine danger to the mother and serious foetal abnormalities. A serious foetal abnormality, as we know from personal experience, is emotionally devastating but represents no immediate hazard to the mother. However, how do you define those that are so severe that they can justify killing the child? One example is Down Syndrome: where the child is capable of a joyful and fulfilled life, but where many medical systems urge termination and Iceland, among others, has proposed, as a "progressive" measure, to detect and permit the termination of every DS child before it is born.

We don't doubt the difficulty of the question when a mother's life is genuinely at risk, but Dr Mahony and Prof Malone propose no actual solution other than "a change".

Every human law is imperfect and open to reform, but we need a concrete proposal to discuss. We need to clearly understand in detail how proposed changes can improve things and, given the dishonesty and disrespect for the law shown by the abortion industry lobby here and in other countries, how they can protect against abuse of the proposed changes.

In a country with people of many faiths and none, we are obliged to discuss these matters rationally and legislate based on scientific fact and respect for the dignity of all human life.

Attempts, whether by extremist believers or State-financed human rights lawyers, to evade this obligation lead us directly to the likes of Trump-ian climate change denial and Brexiteer fantasies and ultimately to irrational, harmful laws.

Anne and Liam Mulligan

Letterkenny, Co Donegal

'Golden Pages' number is up

Today I received my copy of the 'Golden Pages' (it was actually my second copy in three weeks).

It was like receiving a relic from a previous time.

How much did it cost to put this together, print and distribute?

I spoke to my neighbour who said he put it straight in the green bin.

Does anyone use this book to get phone numbers today?

Damien Carroll

Kingswood, Dublin 24

Keegan proposes vandalism

Owen Keegan, Dublin City CEO, needs to be challenged when he proposes that public interest would be served by allowing residential development on land presently zoned as amenity/open space.

These areas that he calls "low-quality spaces" are presently used as public parks, playing fields, nature reserves, etc. Far from serving the public interest, his proposal, if implemented, would be vandalism.

There is enough land available in the city without building on public parks or playing fields.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

The banks can act with impunity

The banks went rogue in the past when they facilitated tax evasion, a criminal offence, as instanced by the Dirt and Ansbacher scandals.

This was followed by reckless lending, which devastated many ordinary people, for whom bank shares were their pension fund.

Now they have defrauded thousands of their customers in the tracker scandal.

This indicates a sense of impunity as bankers see themselves as above the law and accountable to nobody. The politicians have failed to bring in appropriate and effective legislation - to put the fear of God into them - like the Revenue does to the rest of us.

Donal Healy

Co Meath

State must step in to tracker row

The recent exposure of the tracker mortgage scandal by the banking fraternity is daylight robbery by financial lending institutions of their long-suffering customers.

The pain, grief, sleepless nights, anguish and torment endured by tens of thousands of ordinary people trying to put a roof over the heads of themselves and their families leaves an awful lot to be desired.

The Central Bank is supposed to be the watchdog protecting consumers, and keeping our financial institutions in line. It was either not aware of what was going on, or took its eye off the ball. One wonders what - if any - role it played in this catastrophe, or what its future responsibilities should be, if any.

But this is modern-day Ireland, where accountability is non-existent, and no one ever loses their highly paid jobs.

White-collar crime must be tackled in this country as a matter of urgency, and the full rigours of the law of the land must be applied to those found responsible for any wrong-doing.

The Government must now step in to ensure that not only is justice done, but more importantly is seen to be done.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

A bonus for Charles, then

The Sinn Féin mayor of Derry, Maolíosa McHugh, has refused to meet Prince Charles on his visit to that city. Usually, it is generally the same people who have all the good fortune, and I hope Charles suitably realises that it is not only the luck of the Irish which applies here on our sceptred isle.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

Leo can't fool all the people

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made no gains for his party despite announcing a billion-euro package of tax cuts and spending measures.

It appears that finally the Irish people can see through Government pre-election goodie bags.

"You can fool all the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time."

Seamus McLoughlin

Keshcarrigan, Co Leitrim

Irish Independent

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