Is Eighth Amendment committee a farce?


A chara, – Mattie McGrath and Rónán Mullen are right to express publicly their grave doubts concerning the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment (“Eighth Amendment committee a ‘farce’, say two members”, October 13th).

Based on what has been reported in the media, almost everyone who has come before it has not only favoured repeal but also advocated for a liberal abortion regime to replace it. And the majority of members have not only nodded approvingly but, as recent reports show, have openly sneered at and mocked the few who objected to the charade.

The response of the chairwoman, Catherine Noone, to these two gentlemen expressing public dissatisfaction with the work of her committee was to say “while they were having their press conference, we were getting on with the business of the committee” and that they should have made their complaints “to the committee”. It was, of course, the “business” itself that they objected to.

Why she thinks they should have any faith that their complaints would have been treated seriously after the manner in which the committee has proceeded so far is difficult to imagine.

Mr Mullen and Mr McGrath are considering leaving the committee, and Ms Noone is asking them to stay. Presumably she thinks the presence of a couple of token pro-life voices will make what increasingly looks like the predetermined outcome of this pantomime seem even vaguely credible. She needn’t trouble herself; whether they stay or go the credibility of her committee is already in tatters. – Is mise,



Co Kilkenny.

Sir, – The petulant warning from two anti-abortion members that they might walk away from the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment reminds me of two children threatening to take their ball home when a game isn’t going their way.

It appears that their idea of “balance” is that medical advice should be deliberately rounded up that supports their view; even if, as seems to be the case, no such expert opinion actually exists.

Rónán Mullen and Mattie McGrath simply cannot abide the fact that, so far, the advice received by the committee is effectively, and almost entirely, in favour of the Eighth Amendment being repealed. – Yours, etc,

Yours, etc,


Dublin 7.

Sir, – Senator Rónán Mullen and Mattie McGrath TD have called the commendable work of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eight Amendment a “farce”. They have further suggested that the committee is biased towards “pro-abortion” contributors. It bears noting that the groups and individuals they describe as pro-abortion are the Irish Commission for Human Rights and Equality, the Irish Council of General Practitioners, the Masters of both the National Maternity Hospital and the Rotunda Hospital, and the World Health Organisation. The point cannot be made strongly enough that what they are construing as a stitch-up is, in fact, the legitimate consensus of evidence-based human rights and health organisations. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.