Seanad debates

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

2:30 pm

Photo of Rónán MullenRónán Mullen (Independent)

I welcome the establishment of Irish Water and Senator Bacik is correct to raise the issue of the scarcity of water. We are facing a difficult international future with the possibility of water wars and conflicts over it. We should appreciate what we have in Ireland. It is terrible to think that 40% of water here is lost through waste and I hope we are facing a more organised future.

I refer to an issue arising in the other House this evening, which prompts a call from me for a debate on a sensitive issue. For the first time, legislation is being introduced in the other House to legalise abortion. That is a sad situation. The legislation has many flaws, not least that it provides for abortion without time limits, disregards the consent of women in certain situations and imprisons conscientious objectors. It is also based on a false premise, an outdated notion that there are psychiatric grounds for abortion, as was canvassed in the X case, in which no psychiatric evidence was heard. The question is no longer whether abortion is ever necessary for mental health reasons; the question experts are considering is in what circumstances abortion poses a mental health risk for some women. I hope the new information will be heard and this ideological Bill will be rejected. From talking to friends and colleagues in the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, there is a diversity of opinion on these issues. I hope we will not get a blanket ideological "Yes" to this flawed and destructive proposed legislation.

The way in which debates get manipulated is disturbing. A sad situation involves women who would have preferred to abort children they were told could not survive long after birth but who gave birth to them. Those women need to be heard and I am concerned about the National Women's Council of Ireland, in particular, bringing them in when that issue cannot be dealt with without a referendum. There is also a very strong claim of a disabled child to be entitled to have the dignity of a natural end. Women who chose to give life in those circumstances believe it is the best and most healing thing possible. I do not know why the National Women's Council of Ireland is seeking to push the debate at the same time as it attacked an organisation called Women Hurt----–


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.