Legislating for contraception

 

Sir, – I read with interest John Horgan in An Irishman’s Diary (July 25th) on the subject, inter alia, of the McGee case. Mr Horgan states that the success of Mrs McGee’s case in the High Court led to a change in the law regarding contraceptives. In fact, Mrs McGee lost her case in the High Court. Her appeal to the Supreme Court in 1973 was successful and it was the Supreme Court’s judgment that led to an eventual change in the law. It seems that the essential basis for the Supreme Court’s decision was that the law infringed Mrs McGee’s constitutional right to marital privacy, rather than her right to life, as stated by Mr Horgan. He also refers in the article to “the then-minister for health, Charles J Haughey”. Brendan Corish (Labour) was the minister for health in 1974 in a government led by Liam Cosgrave. It should be remembered that Liam Cosgrave himself had voted against and facilitated the defeat of his own government’s Bill to legislate on the matter. Charles J Haughey was the minister for health in 1979. It was in that year that the Fianna Fáil government enacted legislation to give effect to the Supreme Court decision of 1973. – Yours, etc,

DAIRINE WALSH,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.