Cóir disputes Bishops' claim on abortion


Anti-Lisbon group Cóir today repeated its claim that Irish people would lose the right to decide on abortion if the Lisbon Treaty referendum is passed, contrary to an assertion yesterday by Irish Catholic Bishops Conference.

In a statement last night, the standing committee of the Irish Bishops Conference said: “The Treaty of Lisbon does not undermine existing legal protections in Ireland for unborn children”.

But Cóir spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain today claimed the current legal protections were not at issue in the debate.

“What Cóir has argued is that the treaty will give the EU Courts the right to decide on abortion and a great many other social issues in the future,” Ms Uí Bhriain said.

However, she welcomed the decision by the Conference of Bishops to avoided what she described as “the sort of political campaigning” undertaken by the Bishop of Down and Connor, Noel Treanor.

The Most Rev Noel Treanor told the Joint Committee on European Affairs last week that Catholics could “in good conscience” vote Yes for the Lisbon Treaty and there were “no grounds” to justify a No vote for religious or ethical reasons.

“Bishop Treanor’s intervention was quite extraordinary,” she said. “He threw himself into political campaigning because of his support for the treaty.

“But, worst of all, he felt free to misrepresent and attack No campaigners. I would remind the Bishop that the days of belting Irish citizens with the crozier are thankfully long gone,” she said.