A Labour Party Minister of State has accused the Catholic Primate and Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Sean Brady, of taking a “very irresponsible” approach to the Government’s position on abortion.
one of the sharpest criticisms yet made of a church leader by a
politician, Minister of State for Public Transport Alan Kelly said the
cardinal had either ignored or misunderstood the legal and
constitutional position on the issue.
The Tipperary North TD said
the cardinal was engaged in “spin-doctoring and campaign-launching” and
this would only strengthen the Government’s resolve to “do the right
However, his senior colleague in the department, Minister
for Transport Leo Varadkar, said the Catholic Church was “entitled to
contribute to the debate like any organisation.
“I would be surprised if they didn’t, given the church’s teaching on the sanctity of life,” he said.
The Fine Gael Minister added that the cardinal’s views “will be taken on board but not obeyed”.
his Christmas message, Dr Brady said TDs and Senators were being asked
to legalise the “deliberate destruction” of human life and he called for
opponents of the legislation to “make their voice heard in a reasonable
but forthright way to their representatives”.
Kelly, who is a practising Catholic, told The Irish Times: “The
comments by Cardinal Brady completely misrepresent the legal and
constitutional position the Government finds itself in. He has either ignored the constitutional position or else he misunderstands it. In
either case, it is very worrying. It is very worrying that the cardinal
should come out with these comments on Christmas Day . . . I personally have no issue with the Catholic Church commenting on most issues. However,
I do believe that this sort of spin-doctoring and campaign-launching
will only strengthen the resolve of this Government to do the right
thing and provide the legislation and regulation required on this most
sensitive topic. The Government of which I am a member has said
on numerous occasions that under no circumstances will we facilitate
abortion on demand.”