‘How can an act that suppresses innocent and defenceless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or simply human?’
Condemnation comes as Irish government earmarks millions of euros for abortion services.
Sligo News File
As the Irish government earmarks €12 million of its annual budget for abortion services, the Pope has resolutely denounced the destruction of infants in the womb.
During his weekly audience in the Vatican on Wednesday, Francis compared abortion to Mafia-style killing, saying it was the equivalent of hiring a hit man “to take out a human life to solve a problem.”
Urging the faithful not to kill, he said some people justify abortion as respecting other rights, but he asked, “How can an act that suppresses innocent and defenceless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or simply human?”
Attack one of the Pope’s strongest on abortion
The attack is one of the strongest he has made on the killing of innocents in the womb. Five months ago, he likened abortion to avoid birth defects to the Nazi-era of trying to create a pure race.
Wilfully terminating life in the womb flies in the face of teachings of the Catholic Church and is regarded as a grave moral wrongdoing.
Ireland, a Catholic state, last month formally removed a long-time constitutional amendment that protected the unborn, voting by a huge majority to clear the way for mothers to be able to legally kill babies up to twelve weeks of pregnancy and, in some cases, as far on as six months.
In June, Health Minister Harris reportedly said that he was “determined” to do something to prevent people from protesting outside centres where abortion services are offered. However, it’s been argued that the action could lead to a constitutional challenge in the courts.
The government in Britain has categorically rejected calls for the introduction of “buffer zones” barring protests outside abortion clinics across the UK.
Party wants houses restricted to providing accommodation for students and the homeless.
Sligo News File.
Labour is rolling out a bill which could virtually kill off short-term accommodation property lettings.
Some 3,000 homes are currently being offered for short stays under arrangements with an international organisation known as AirBnB.
House lettings facilitated by the United States company has been one of the growing success stories of Irish tourism, enabling visitors to avail of low priced quality accommodation while travelling the country. At the same time, property owners can enjoy a relatively modest financial return from renting furnished rooms or entire homes for short periods of time.
Labour concerned over expansion of AirBnB lettings.
But the Labour Party is reportedly unhappy with the expanding industry and is proposing to knock it back with controls where lettings in their present form would be restricted to only a few weeks per year. Owners of AirBnB properties would also need planning permission, obliging them to dole out substantial commercial rates to local councils.
Humphreys, one of the small party’s leadership, believe the controls will force the 3,000 AirBnB owners to open their houses to students and the homeless instead.
AirBnB, based in San Francisco, operates the flourishing online hospitality service. The company has over 5 million lodging listings in 81,000 cities and 191 countries and has facilitated over 300 million check-ins.
Homeowners relying on income from home sharing.
Many people on the brink of losing their homes have come to rely on AirBnB for additional income. Homeowners in the United States who refinance their mortgages with some agencies can include the income they earn from their Airbnb rentals on their refinance loan applications.
The Labour bill would require a register to be kept to prevent homeowners from moving from one letting type to another to supersede the regulations. Those failing to maintain a register will be subject to a ‘Class A fine’ of upwards of €50,000.
‘Householder assaulted and ejected from the house with family.’
Sligo News File
Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has ordered a report following claims that Gardai “stood idly by” during an incident allegedly involving former British army soldiers hired by KBC Bank forcibly entering a Dublin home where it’s been said the householder was physically assaulted and ejected from the residence along with his family.
Raising the issue during Leaders Questions in the Dail on Tuesday, Mattie McGrath said KBC had hired former British Army members forcibly to enter the Smith family home in Balbriggan the previous day. Entry, he said, was made at 9 am. In the course of the occurrence, the householder was physically assaulted and ejected with his family from the home.
He said, “Gardaí were present all day at the scene in Balbriggan and stood idly by but, thankfully, neighbours and friends of the family arrived late yesterday evening, at which stage the gardaí advised the mercenaries to leave, and I salute them for that.”
“This is the same bank that put 2,500 people on the wrong tracker mortgage rate, resulting in the loss of 33 properties, including six family homes,” he said.
Remarking “I do not want to invoke the song ‘Go On Home British Soldiers,'” McGrath went on to say that, “Those former British soldiers should not be here to carry out such thuggery on Irish people.
“The Taoiseach wants to allow such actions along with allowing people to freeze to death. Such events are being carried out under our watch by KBC and other banks and more will be facilitated by banks selling mortgages to vulture funds. Retired British army mercenaries have no business in this country. We have the Garda Síochána to enforce the law. It is outrageous.
“What is the Taoiseach going to do?”
The Taoiseach replied that he was “unaware of the matter” referred to by the Deputy.
McGrath said the Taoiseach could not “sit idly by and allow thuggery to be perpetrated by a third force, neither the Garda nor the Army. We do not need such people here. They did their deeds elsewhere and have retired on pensions. They should not be allowed come to Ireland—–”
An Ceann Comhairle said the Deputy couldn’t “come in a second time.”
McGrath: “The Taoiseach must answer the question.”
Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: “He must answer.”
An Ceann Comhairle: “Does the Minister for Justice and Equality have anything to say on this matter?”
Minister for Justice and Equality: “The Deputy has made very serious allegations. I ask him to communicate with me in writing—”
McGrath: “I will.”
Minister for Justice and Equality: ” —–and I will seek a report from the Garda Síochána on the matter.”
McGrath briefly mentioned the alleged incident again in the Dail on Wednesday.
He said, “We saw what happened in Balbriggan to the Smith family who were terrorised by people from abroad, ex-British soldiers. The Taoiseach asked me to put it in writing.
I have two letters here, one for the Taoiseach and one for the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan. I will give them to the usher to hand to them.
“Ex-British soldiers beat this family. We have a short memory. In September 1920, Balbriggan was sacked and looted by the Black and Tans and two people were killed that night. The local barber, James Lawless, and John Gibson were both beaten to death by the Black and Tans. They are back again and this has happened under the Government’s watch. It is a shame on all of us to allow this go on last Monday morning in Balbriggan. I have the information here and I want the Government to act on it. I also want the Government to support legislation to stop the vultures getting their grisly claws on any more loans.”
The information is contained in the report on proceedings in the Dail
Charge of €80 for all other patients brought in by Government in 2013.
Sligo News File
Patients with Hereditary Haemochromatosis, the treatment of which necessitates the removal of a pint of blood, are being victimised – unless they can get to Dublin where the treatment is free. TD Eamon Scanlon has described the situation as discriminatory.
The Sligo-based Deputy said the €80 charge was only introduced in 2013 “after changes were made to the Health Act. It’s completely ridiculous that some patients are being forced to pay the charge while others are not. It’s discrimination based on address.”
Hereditary hemochromatosis is a disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron from the diet. The excess iron is stored in the body’s tissues and organs, particularly the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, and joints. Unless treatment is availed of the condition could have serious health implications for the sufferer.
Scanlon said, “It is deeply unfair that some people are having to pay the fee while others aren’t. This isn’t an optional procedure – if patients don’t undergo the treatment they could end up with liver damage.
“The Minister and the HSE need to level the playing field and ensure that all haemochromatosis sufferers have access to free venesection and phlebotomy services so that they can keep their condition under control.”
He said that Health Minister Simon Harris had informed him that a meeting is being arranged to consider “the issue of the application of the public in-patient charge of €80 for venesection in Acute Hospitals as well as broader issues in relation to the treatment of patients with Hereditary Haemochromatosis.”
Public support for removal of Amendment has plunged.
Northwest TDs against repeal.
Sligo News File
It must have been disappointing for Gino O’Boyle to see a sizeable body of councillors leaving the September meeting of Sligo County Council just before his motion calling for the Repeal the Eighth Amendment came up for discussion.
O’Boyle’s motion asked that “Sligo County Council write to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and ask him when will a referendum on Repeal the 8th take place and also Sligo County
Council support having a referendum.”
The motion was carried but before the vote was taken a large body of councillors had apparently left the chamber.
Of those who remained, two voted against the motion, one abstained, leaving only six, including the proposer in favour.
Marked as absent were: Casserly, Independent, Clarke, Independent, Healy, Sinn Fein, Maguire, Fianna Fail, MacSharry, Fianna Fail, Mulvey, Fine Gael, O’Grady, Fianna Fail, Queenan, Independent, and Taylor, Fianna Fail. However, Casserly and Maguire are not listed among the attendees at the meeting.
The six supporters of O’Boyle’s motion were Bree, Independent, Henry, Fianna Fail, Keaney, Fine Gael, Kilgannon, Fianna Fail, MacManus, Sinn Fein and O’Boyle.
Lundy and Baker, both Fianna Fail, opposed the motion.
Gormley, an Independent, abstained.
Seemingly there is no great appetite among most Councillors for the removal of the Amendment from the Constitution.
At least three Northwest TDs, Fianna Fail deputies Marc McSharry, Eamon Scanlon and Pat the Cope Gallagher are all against repealing the Eighth amendment.
Councillor O’Boyle is a member of the People Before Profit Alliance which early last year moved a Bill in the Dail proposing that the penalty for procuring or assisting an abortion in Ireland be reduced to a €1 fine.
There was also controversy when the Independent reported last September that Trinity People Before Profit defended their members who were allegedly pictured cutting down posters advertising a pro-life event in Dublin.
It was claimed that a Facebook post on their page “showed two members of their group cutting down a poster along with the message: “2 comrades, 1 pair of scissors, 32 vile anti-choice posters surrounding the campus. A successful evening indeed”.
The posters were advertising an event by The Life Institute and Unbroken Ireland that had been scheduled for a Dublin hotel.
Polls show that public support for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment and abortion up to 12 weeks has plunged from 65% in 2018 to 56% in January 2018.