Seanad debates

Thursday, 22 October 2015

10:30 am

Photo of Labhrás Ó MurchúLabhrás Ó Murchú (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Will the Acting Leader arrange an urgent debate on the persecution of Christians worldwide which has reached genocidal proportions? Thousands of Christians have been exterminated due to their beliefs and hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes. In parts of the Middle East and Africa, an ethnic cleansing campaign is taking place. Surprisingly, the UN has been most inactive on this issue and the crisis has got very little publicity. The issue is a cause of grave concern to all of us who believe in freedom of speech, tolerance and democracy. This is allowed to happen with no outcry or accountability by ambassadors and others. It is vital that we should avail of every opportunity, including in this House, to make a case for an immediate focus on this issue.

Let me give one example. It is estimated that in five years' time there will be no Christians left in Iraq. That is how serious the problem is. The fact that we allow it to happen, are not working together in a united fashion to resolve it and have not put pressure on the governments where this extermination is taking place will come back to haunt everyone who believes in democracy. Will the Acting Leader set aside a couple of hours for a debate the week after next? Senators could leave politics and partisanship aside to put forward a joint motion and suggest that Dáil Éireann does the same.

At this morning's briefing on this issue, a copy of the report entitled Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-15 was circulated and its executive summary is absolutely shocking. We are all aware of the problem but it exists under the radar, to some extent. Unless we bring it centre stage at this time, we will have lost the opportunity of proving that when something like this arises we do what we can, no matter how limited that is, to correct such a tragedy.


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