CORI's recently published 10 questions for election candidates raise this matter afresh. The questions related to social welfare payments, basic income, health-care, accommodation, education, cultural respect, work, measuring progress, environment and third world debt, none of which are contentious as far as the media are concerned.

Sir, - Some time last year, David Quinn raised the question in Magill as to whether the good people of CORI weren't somewhat off the mark in pursuing what seemed to him to be a socialist rather than a Christian agenda.

It is indeed the Christian duty of CORI to apply their abilities in identifying and pursuing the needs of those who are less well off. But there are a few questions I would like to see debated. Firstly, this is getting to be a very crowded area. There are already 166 Dáil deputies and most of these are working flat out to make as many people as possible as content as possible. They are now being joined by an unelected Human Rights Commission, who will be happy to call anything you care to name as a right, under the banner of economic, social and cultural rights. They will likely have the support of a number of non-governmental organisations and the backing of UN organisations.

My second question rests on the assumption that the Conference of Religious in Ireland is an organisation representing Ireland's Catholic clergy, male and female, of whom I believe there are some 20,000. Weekly, I read of exhortations from Pope John Paul 11 of the need, as the highest of priorities, to actively defend life - as well as the family - from the active attacks that are made upon it.

These attacks do not come from the weather: they are the result of the activities of particular individuals and policies, policies that are frequently given the force of law by the people we elect.

That is why it has been something of a surprise to me to find that in a set of questions designed to reveal the intentions of candidates for election, the killing of the unborn child, so recently discussed in this country, does not rate a mention among the top 10 election priorities of an organisation representing the workforce, so to speak, of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Nor is there a mention of policies tending to undermine the family, such as individualisation.

Is it that they do not really believe that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life? Or is it that they do not represent the body of the Catholic Church in Ireland? Or worse, that they do? - Yours, etc,


Dargle Road,


Co Dublin.