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In an ideal world there would not be abortion. This is not an ideal world.

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IF I am accused of bringing nothing to this debate, as Ms Green suggests, then perhaps it proves something I heard this week and which I am inclined to believe; no man or woman under 50 should be allowed vote or have a say in Repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Because this is not an issue that affects all people; this is an issue that affects women only. And it is an issue that affects childbearing women particularly.

And of that population grouping a fair percentage – married and single – do go abroad for abortion, for their own reasons. That is the reality. They go abroad because the option is not available to them here and it is available elsewhere.

Over 30 years ago contraception was not widely available, babies were found stabbed, choked, washed up on beaches. Desperate women took to the air and the boat – desperate because this country, male-dominated, with the support of very conservative matrons, (I use the word since there is issue with ‘handmaidens’) was no Garden of Eden for women.

Contraception is available today. Abortion is still a choice for some. Desperate women, and not so desperate women, are still leaving. For their own reasons. They are adult women. They should be respected, not pilloried and thrashed.

And the letters this week prove this debate is back to the future. And it was in that context and the unearthing of difficult events in 1984 I wrote my piece. I have since been looking at The Kerryman and other newspaper archives of the period to do some research on the Joanne Hayes debacle, and the treatment of women, and the whole thrust of the debate by the church and the establishment.

The highly conservative and generally well heeled, well protected, powerful medical profession of the time were part of that establishment and campaign.

From what I can see the objective was not “protection” of the unborn so much as “prohibition”. It was to hold back the tide of “promiscuity”. A kind of head-in-the-sand approach that if you cut off the solutions, you cut off the problem.

That has not worked.

And what is worrying is that since the case of the death of Galway dentist Savita Halappanavar, it is not crystal clear that the medical profession now, whether because of lack of legal clarity, or out of conviction, will or can  save the life of the mother above the child. That is a fact.

Three of the letters received by this publication were from the medical profession. All three only see one issue in my piece of last week: the upcoming referendum. They ignore the past and women’s rights.

But I do agree with Dr Crowley, I absolutely agree, people on the so-called ‘pro’ side should not be afraid to speak. And to speak strongly, as they indeed do, and have long done without any sensitivity or fear of upsetting public taste on street corners with strong images and raucous rantings.

In 1983 the minority side were afraid to speak at all… Terrified in fact. Are they still to fear?

One of the letters received by this publication was from a male doctor and was  a pretty strong if meandering attack on this writer and her disrespectful “tone”. This male doctor will not allow his name be published. Why? Again “head-in-the-sand” comes to mind

In an ideal world there would not be abortion and in a sensible country we should not have to debate it. In an ideal world born children would not have to sleep in hotels and hostels for months and would have a home.

As for Ms Green’s use of Down syndrome to advance her views: This very week Down Syndrome Ireland issued an appeal to people like Ms Green who will use every opportunity to advance their views to please respect them enough to leave them out of the debate and stop referring to persons with Downs to support their views.

I too take issue too with Ms Green and Dr Crowley’s and Dr Who’s misreading of my article to advance their very narrow views.

This is not an ideal world. There is a sensible approach as enunciated by Micheál Martin and others and, please, let us not as in 1983 let powerful sectors of the establishment lead society into ignoring reality - this time under the guise of reason.

 

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No spare change – no problem, as charity embraces new technology

By Sean Moriarty With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier. For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank […]

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By Sean Moriarty

With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier.

For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank card to make a donation.

The Society’s annual churchgate collection will be held on the weekend of December 11/12 at places of worship in the town and surrounding areas. This year’s collection has be renamed as ‘Giving Sunday’ and makes a return after the pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s fundraiser.

“We are moving towards a cashless society,” explained Killarney Conference President Breda O’Dwyer. “You can tap and swipe your card to make a donation.”

Breda added that they are hoping to have the buckets ready by next week in time for the collection.

She said the local conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society has seen a marked increase in the number of families it is helping mainly caused by the increase in the cost of fuel and home heating products.

The annual St Vincent De Paul Society’s Christmas Jumper Day, in association with Radio Kerry is scheduled for December 10.

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SURVEY: Locals are reducing their social contacts

It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week. An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their […]

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It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week.

An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their level of contacts with people.

Interestingly, 37.10% of people had made no change to their lifestyle, but they could have been extra cautious already.

A tiny minority – just 1.61% – said they increased their social contacts over the last week.

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