Irish bishops back ban on pro-abort Amnesty International in Church-run schools

Irish bishops back ban on pro-abort Amnesty International in Church-run schools

by Cathal Barry
June 16, 2016

Bishop Phonsie Cullinan has said he is “totally opposed” to Amnesty International speaking in Catholic schools given the organisation’s support for a liberalisation of Ireland’s abortion laws, which he described as “bizarre”.

As a former supporter of Amnesty’s work, the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore said he was “saddened by the direction in which the organisation is moving in the last few years”.

“I was a supporter of Amnesty myself in the past when it was campaigning for prisoners unjustly jailed in foreign countries. Now Amnesty is lobbying here in Ireland for the destruction of unborn human life which it considers not worthy of life. To say the least this is bizarre,” he told The Irish Catholic.


Bishop Cullinan warned that given Amnesty International’s stance on the Eighth (Life Equality) Amendment “it would not be at all appropriate for them to speak in a Catholic school and I am totally opposed to their doing so”.

“To the best of my knowledge no presentations on behalf of Amnesty International have been made in this diocese.

“All guest presentations in primary and voluntary post-primary schools in the Waterford and Lismore diocese must comply with the Catholic ethos,” he said.


This newspaper also understands that Bishop Ray Browne wrote to priests of the Kerry diocese last December instructing them to be “prudent” regarding Amnesty’s access to Church-run schools.

“Given the current situation it would seem prudent that they not gain widespread access to Church schools,” he wrote in an instruction to priests seen by The Irish Catholic.

Meanwhile, the Pro Life Campaign (PLC) has accused the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) of becoming “a de facto lobby group for abortion”.

Cora Sherlock of the PLC said last week’s comments by the HRC on Ireland’s abortion law is further proof that the committee “is one hundred percent partisan in favour of abortion and never takes account of the hugely damaging effects of abortion on both mother and baby”.

“Every few months they castigate Ireland’s abortion laws but are totally silent when it comes to investigating abuses in the abortion industry.

“It is unbelievable how one-sided they have become and they need to be called out on it,” she said.

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One comment on “Irish bishops back ban on pro-abort Amnesty International in Church-run schools

  1. Irish Government’s Citizens’ Assembly a Sham to Promote Abortion, Repeal Pro-life 8th Amendment

    JUN 14, 2016 | DUBLIN, IRELAND

    The Pro Life Campaign in Ireland has said that the Irish Government’s decision to bring forward the setting up of a Citizens’ Assembly on abortion is “a knee-jerk reaction to the disgracefully one-sided report last week from the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) which set the rights of the unborn child at zero and ignored the devastating after-effects of abortion for many women.”

    Last week, the UN Human Rights Committee commented on a complaint brought by an Irish woman who was unable to have an abortion in Ireland when she was told that her baby would not survive to birth, or very long afterwards. In those comments, the UNHRC said that the Irish State had subjected her to “intense physical and mental suffering”.

    Regular readers of LifeNews will be very familiar with the Human Rights Committee, and the skewed notion of “human rights” that it adopts when it comes to abortion. For example, the Committee has never taken countries like England and Canada to task over their appalling record of denying medical treatment to babies who survive abortion and are in many cases left to die. It has also ignored the plight of families who are put under pressure to abort their babies when they are diagnosed with a life-limiting conditions. Similarly, it ignores the trauma and heartbreak of women who say they are devastated in the aftermath of abortions.

    As such, the comments of the HRC should not be given any real seriousness until it starts to take on board the full spectrum of experiences when it comes to abortion, and until it starts to follow up on the horrific human rights abuses that are the direct consequence of abortion throughout the world.

    Nonetheless, the Irish Government is pressing ahead in the aftermath of these comments and has announced that it will bring a memo to the Irish Cabinet next week to look at a Citizens’ Assembly on abortion. The only real purpose of this Assembly can be to hold a referendum to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Irish Constitution. The Eighth Amendment is the provision that safeguards and guarantees the right to life of unborn babies in the Irish Constitution and it is responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives. It is shocking that the Irish Government is even considering holding an Assembly that could lead to its removal.

    Commenting on today’s announcement from the Government, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said:

    “This Assembly is being set up with one purpose only and that is to pave the way for a referendum to strip the unborn child of its last remaining Constitutional protection. Every member of Cabinet knows that the UN Committee that commented on Ireland’s abortion laws last week has a track record in only pushing abortion and has never once taken a stand against the appalling abuses internationally in the abortion industry. For example, the UN Committee in question has never brought countries like England and Canada to task over the barbaric practice of refusing to give medical assistance to babies born alive after botched abortions.

    “Today’s announcement is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to the UNHRC’s disgracefully one-sided report last week which set the rights of the unborn child at zero and ignored the devastating after-effects of abortion for many women. The Ministers who have been attacking the Eighth Amendment at every turn in recent days have totally abandoned the rights of the unborn child and the tens of thousands of lives that have been saved by the Eighth Amendment.”

    Ms Sherlock continued:

    “The Pro Life Campaign has no faith that the process announced today by the Government will be fair and impartial. Let’s be honest – it is about taking away human rights protections from a vulnerable group of human beings, not adding to them. The Pro Life Campaign will work tirelessly to ensure that the public are not misled about what this flawed process is really about. The Government has no mandate for setting up a Citizens’ Assembly in this manner. In the recent General Election, when the issue of abortion came up on doorsteps, it was overwhelmingly pro-life supporters who raised it and not those seeking the removal of the Eighth Amendment. Those same supporters will stand up for the Eighth Amendment and do all that is necessary to retain it so that mothers and unborn babies are fully protected in law.”

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