Irish Catholic schools urged to ban Amnesty International

Catholic schools in Ireland are under pressure to ban Amnesty International speakers, because of that group’s support for liberalising abortion law.

Amnesty has been a public supporter of repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which puts “right to life of the unborn” on an equal footing with the right to life of the pregnant woman.

Abortion is permitted in Ireland only when there is a risk to the life of a pregnant woman.

Amnesty International has visited a number of schools in Dublin archdiocese recently.

Speaking to the Irish Catholic about Amnesty visiting Catholic schools, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin said the issue is wider than this one organisation.

“When we invite groups into our schools we need to make sure that what they stand for is consistent with our ethos,” the bishop said.

“The school board has clear responsibility that any group that comes into the school to make a presentation is coming from a point of view that is consistent with the ethos of the school,” he added.

Pro-life voices in Ireland have also been critical of the Amnesty visits to Catholic schools.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that Catholic schools had to “draw a line in the sand”.

Claiming that Amnesty International had “upended their mission” in recent years by supporting abortion, Ms Uí Bhriain said the organisation were being “entirely hypocritical by trying to use Catholic schools to gain support”.

“They have no right to vigorously campaign for abortion and at the same time approach Catholic schools looking for support.”

“They can’t have it both ways,” she insisted.

Last week, the United Nation’s human rights committee called on the Irish government to reform its abortion legislation.

The UN body ruled that Ireland’s government subjected one woman seeking an abortion, Amanda Mellet, to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and violated her human rights.

Colm O’Gorman, the executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, called on the Irish government to act promptly.

“Ireland’s constitution is no excuse. It must be changed to allow the reforms required by this ruling,” Mr O’Gorman said.


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