Thursday, September 24, 2009

Protestant statement 'partisan'

PROTESTANT CHURCHES have been criticised for being “so clearly partisan” in their Monday statement on the referendum.

Rev Ian Ellis, editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette, told The Irish Times yesterday he was “surprised that the Protestant joint statement is so clearly partisan, effectively calling for a Yes vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum. By contrast, the statement from the Catholic bishops is fair in that the bishops explicitly state that they do not seek to align themselves with either side”.

However, he described comments on the treaty by the Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Noel Treanor, as “quite astounding”.

“Many people are rightly concerned about the future of national sovereignty under Lisbon, and that clearly can have religious and ethical implications.

“This has been illustrated by a report in the very reputable Irish Medical News that the Lisbon Treaty, by adopting the Fundamental Charter for Human Rights, would give further weight before the courts to the provision contained in the European Convention of Human Rights allowing for the confining of alcoholics and drug addicts.”

He added:“The Irish Medical News reports that it has established that this provision in fact contravenes the Mental Health Act of 2001. This is a matter of the utmost ethical concern. Bishop Treanor’s dismissal of any religious or ethical considerations in relation to the Lisbon Treaty referendum shows a very unexpected lack of awareness of such implications and is quite astounding.”

Rev Ellis was referring to a report in the Irish Medical News which quoted a consultant psychiatrist, Dr Seán Ó Dómhnaill, as saying that “more than 715,000 Irish people could be involuntarily detained under a provision in the Lisbon Treaty allowing alcoholics and drug addicts to be confined,which contravenes the Mental Health Act 2001”.

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