The Citizens’ Assembly and legislators


Sir, – William Binchy has taken great care to inform us of the potential human rights ramifications of the Citizens’ Assembly decision (“No sensible legislator would go near the result of the Citizens’ Assembly”, Opinion & Analysis, April 26th).

While citing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, your columnist has ignored Articles 23(b) and 25(a), which both provide for sexual and reproductive health of persons with disabilities. It appears that he has not considered the possibility that people with disabilities might also want the right to an abortion. Thankfully, the UN has considered this possibility. Furthermore, Prof Binchy seems to have also overlooked the vast body of UN human rights law which has, inter alia, decried our laws as a violation of the right against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as recently as June 2016.

Prof Binchy might be best advised to know that human rights are not an à la carte menu from which one can pick those norms which best support the desired mandate, but rather they are a complete package to be considered as a whole. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 3.

Sir, – I wonder if Prof Binchy would have been as quick to condemn the Citizens’ Assembly if they had come up with an outcome in line with his beliefs? It seems to me that he’s just shooting the messenger. – Yours, etc,


Oranmore, Co Galway.

Sir, – The controversial recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly that abortion should be allowed without restrictions up to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and that it should be permitted up to birth where the child has life-limiting conditions, are horrific proposals, and are a blatant denial of the most basic human right, the right to life. – Yours, etc,


Athenry, Co Galway.

Sir, – David Callahan (April 25th) compares the Citizens’ Assembly’s deliberations on reproductive rights to the television show Family Fortunes. I would think the assembly that sits in Leinster House to be far more worthy of that comparison. The considered advice from the Citizens’ Assembly demonstrates the effectiveness of informed participation – one more focused on issues, evidence, and respect than popularity contests, power-grabs, or political point-scoring.

Let’s have more such assemblies. – Yours, etc,


Ballsbridge,Dublin 4.

Sir, – The last group of random citizens was known as the Constitutional Convention. It voted 52 to 47 to reduce the minimum age for presidential candidates, proving just how “representative” they were of an electorate that voted the proposition down by a three-to-one landslide. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.