Hot on the heels of the recent successful National Vigil For Life, the Pro Life Campaign is encouraging its supporters to use their vote wisely in Ireland’s upcoming Local and European elections.
These elections are taking place in the shadow of the political promise-breaking and group-think that led to the introduction of abortion, and Irish voters simply cannot ignore the breakdown of trust which this promise-breaking has produced. It means that for the time being, we know that the word of candidates from the main political parties about where they stand on abortion cannot be accepted as readily as it once was.
It is up to pro-life voters in Ireland to look for a new politics of trustworthiness, led by politicians with a track record of keeping the promises they make to the electorate. When the chips were down last summer, we saw several members of the Oireachtas break ranks with their parties and pay the price for voting against abortion. It may take time but it is to these brave men and women that we will look to for rebuilding trust in our political system.
When it comes to the upcoming elections, the Pro Life Campaign is advising its supporters not to vote for candidates standing for parties that voted for abortion, unless the candidate is prepare to publicly disassociate themselves from the stance his/her party adopted. Anything less would be worthless and voters should take this to heart in both the Local and European elections.
The local elections in Ireland are often seen as a “first step” for politicians who will then move on to stand for a seat in the national parliament. Politicians use this initial stage as a means of developing a platform where they can make their views known and establish a higher profile, making them more attractive as a candidate when their political party is making a decision on who should run for the national parliament in the next general election.
In terms of the abortion issue, local politicians can also have an impact in terms of swaying public opinion and spreading the reality of the abortion law currently in place. Issues like abortion are discussed at the local city councils where local politicians will take their seat after the election and it is vital that pro-life voices are heard at those debates.
The European elections are perhaps even more important from the pro-life point of view. More and more, we are witnessing interference in Ireland’s abortion laws at the European level. This interference is unacceptable, as the Irish People must remain the final decision-makers in the area of abortion. The fact that this decision was taken out of their hands completely by the government last year was a shocking strike against democracy in Ireland.
Now, more than ever before, we need politicians who have the humanity to see through the euphemisms of the government’s abortion law, the courage to stand up for the rights of women and the unborn, and the determination to hold true to the ideals that have always stood Ireland in good stead – genuine and unflinching respect for every human life, regardless of age, ability or social standing. Tragically, these are ideals which the current government gave up on when they introduced abortion for the full nine months of pregnancy.
Two more elections will take place on polling day and these should also be taken account of from the pro-life perspective. The Longford-Westmeath bye-election will elect a new member of the national parliament to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Nicky McFadden. The Dublin West bye-election will elect a new member of parliament to take the place of the seat vacated by Patrick McNulty who recently resigned his seat. Once again, pro-life voters must use their votes wisely and make it clear when voting that political promise-breaking will not be tolerated.
In the time remaining before polling day on 23rd May, the Pro Life Campaign will be asking various questions of the candidates in order to determine their pro-life credentials. Voters should check out http://prolifecampaign.ie/main/elections-23rd-may-things-keep-mind/ for further information and updates.