Catholic Bishops in Northern Ireland have expressed alarm at the rush to remove the rights of the most vulnerable. The House of Commons passed legislation on Wednesday that would pave the way for the introduction of abortion.

In a statement issued last night, signed by Archbishop Eamon Martin, Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop Donal McKeown and Bishop Larry Duffy, the bishops said, “With the thousands of others who have voiced their concern in recent days, we wish to express our alarm at the unprecedented way in which the Westminster Parliament has used the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill to rush through legislation which will have a devastating impact on the right to life of unborn children.”

The bishops continued, “The equal right to life, and love, of a mother and her unborn child is so fundamental to the common good of every society that citizens deserve the fullest participation in the democratic debate about the legislation which governs it. This also applies to decisions regarding the nature of marriage.  What is happening in Westminster during these days recklessly undermines this fundamental right of citizens and the principle of devolution at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement. It should be a matter of grave alarm for every citizen in Northern Ireland and all who cherish the right to life as the most fundamental of all human rights.”

Concluding their statement, the bishops said, “We appeal to the Prime Minister and Westminster Government to move to overturn this hijacking of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill for purposes for which it was never intended and to uphold the right of citizens in Northern Ireland, under the Good Friday Agreement, to decide these matters for themselves. We appeal to all citizens in Northern Ireland, to give expression to their commitment to the care of every mother and unborn child by asking their political representatives to ensure the equal right to life is upheld in our devolved legislation.”

Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore; Bishop Noel Treanor is Bishop of Down and Connor; Bishop Donal McKeown is Bishop of Derry and Bishop Larry Duffy isBishop of Clogher.

ENDS