C: Sasun Bughdaryan / Shutterstock

Mask of compassion slips as TDs stop Pain Relief Bill

A Bill seeking to ensure pain relief for babies being aborted late in pregnancy was stopped today by Minister Simon Donnelly’s amendment to the effect that the Government would be opposing the proposed legislation proceeding to Committee Stage.

So, the government, and most of the Opposition, are on record as opposing a measure which sought to spare unborn babies the pain of late-term abortion.

The Bill had been tabled by Rural Independent TD for Laois/Offaly Carol Nolan and co-sponsored by other members of the Rural Group; Danny Healy Rae, Michael Healy Rae, Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins along with Peadar Toibín of Aontú, independents Richard O’Donoghue, Seán Canney, Peter Fitzpatrick, Noel Grealish and Eamonn Ó Cuiv of Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Nolan referred to medical evidence of pain felt by unborn children, particularly during late-stage abortions, and explained that this evidence has been taken into account in other jurisdictions where pain relief is administered.

Michael Collins the Cork West TD referred to the scientific evidence but also to the fact that none of these issues were treated properly when the primary legislation was being framed. Of course, the reason for this is that none of the abortion advocates wish to face the reality of what takes place.

Both Danny Healy-Rae and Michael Healy-Rae referred to the basic fact that there is no difference between the unborn child and any other human. Richard O’Donoghue and Michael Healy Rae called for TDs to be allowed to vote in accordance with their conscience rather than in line with the party whip on the issue.

Minister Donnelly preferred to deploy the antiseptic language of “safe and effective service,” “procedures,” “best international practise,” and “service providers.” Perhaps he might do well to meditate upon Michael Collin’s quote from the slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce who had said of that atrocity: “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

Nolan appealed for an “element of compassion” but it was a quality little in evidence among the abortion extremists. Instead, Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane set the tone for the far-left contribution by piously referring to the need for care with regard to the “language” deployed before engaging in his usual barely concealed sneering at those he thinks he has gotten the upper hand over.

Cullinane boasted about the duplicity of his own party which facilitated the introduction of abortion by default through Stormont by collaborating again with the British government and promised that they would “continue to push” not only for the extension but the liberalisation of abortion throughout the whole of Ireland. It is possibly the only all Ireland objective they pursue with a degree of passion these days.

Cullinane’s script writer effortlessly segued from what was basically a demand that all GPs be forced to take part in the procurement of abortion to the usual inane slogan about “trusting doctors.”

Ivana Bacik decided to use her speech to refight all the referendums of the past and whinge about how “language does matter” before attacking anyone who disagrees with her of lacking “compassion and empathy.” She was outdone, however, by Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns who described the Bill as “morally wrong” and an attempt “to control women.”

Brid Smith the veteran of all this stuff – and a communist whose only claim to any sort of victory in a life of marginal extremism was to be part of the destruction of the constitutional protection of the unborn – sounded slightly miffed at newbie leftie Cairns claiming some of that credit for “the struggle”. She gathered herself sufficiently to speak ex cathedra on “behalf of the oppressed” and warn against how “they” will attempt to “roll back gains.” Look, if you’ve heard one tired old leftie spiel you’ve heard them all.

Her fellow communist Mick Barry made some reference to the “Trumpian Right” and then gathered up his papers and left in a huff perhaps as his bloodthirsty hero Trotsky might have done when one of his demands that he be allowed murder even more people than Stalin and Lenin thought practical at the time, was rebuffed in 1920.

Peadar Toibín, who appeared to have exchanged words with Comrade Barry before he flounced out of the chamber like a young St. Just when the guillotine jammed over some Trumpian head in 1793, summed them up succinctly. He referred to the “lack of sympathy in the ideology” of the extremists who he had listened to from the left for the previous hour.

The poet W.B Yeats once likened a debate in the Seanad to being akin to wading through sewerage or something on those lines. Sometimes I know he felt.


How they voted?

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Barry, Mick
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard
  • Brady, John
  • Brophy, Colm
  • Browne, James
  • Browne, Martin
  • Bruton, Richard
  • Buckley, Pat
  • Burke, Colm
  • Burke, Peter
  • Cairns, Holly
  • Carey, Joe
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer
  • Carthy, Matt
  • Chambers, Jack
  • Clarke, Sorca
  • Collins, Joan
  • Collins, Niall
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose
  • Costello, Patrick
  • Coveney, Simon
  • Cowen, Barry
  • Creed, Michael
  • Cronin, Réada
  • Crowe, Seán
  • Cullinane, David
  • Daly, Pa
  • Donnelly, Paul
  • Donnelly, Stephen
  • Donohoe, Paschal
  • Duffy, Francis Noel
  • Durkan, Bernard J
  • Ellis, Dessie
  • Farrell, Alan
  • Farrell, Mairéad
  • Feighan, Frankie
  • Flanagan, Charles
  • Fleming, Sean
  • Foley, Norma
  • Gannon, Gary
  • Gould, Thomas
  • Griffin, Brendan
  • Guirke, Johnny
  • Harris, Simon
  • Heydon, Martin
  • Higgins, Emer
  • Hourigan, Neasa
  • Howlin, Brendan
  • Humphreys, Heather
  • Kehoe, Paul
  • Kenny, Gino
  • Kenny, Martin
  • Kerrane, Claire
  • Lahart, John
  • Lawless, James
  • Leddin, Brian
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig
  • Martin, Catherine
  • Matthews, Steven
  • McAuliffe, Paul
  • McConalogue, Charlie
  • McEntee, Helen
  • McGrath, Michael
  • McHugh, Joe
  • Mitchell, Denise
  • Munster, Imelda
  • Murphy, Catherine
  • Murphy, Paul
  • Mythen, Johnny
  • Nash, Ged
  • Naughton, Hildegarde
  • Noonan, Malcolm
  • O’Brien, Darragh
  • O’Brien, Joe
  • O’Callaghan, Cian
  • O’Callaghan, Jim
  • O’Connor, James
  • O’Donnell, Kieran
  • O’Donovan, Patrick
  • O’Dowd, Fergus
  • O’Gorman, Roderic
  • O’Reilly, Louise
  • O’Rourke, Darren
  • O’Sullivan, Christopher
  • Ó Broin, Eoin
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus
  • Pringle, Thomas
  • Quinlivan, Maurice
  • Rabbitte, Anne
  • Richmond, Neale
  • Ryan, Patricia
  • Shortall, Róisín
  • Smith, Bríd
  • Smith, Duncan
  • Smyth, Ossian
  • Stanley, Brian
  • Stanton, David
  • Troy, Robert
  • Tully, Pauline
  • Varadkar, Leo
  • Ward, Mark
  • Whitmore, Jennifer




  • Berry, Cathal
  • Butler, Mary
  • Cahill, Jackie
  • Calleary, Dara
  • Canney, Seán
  • Cannon, Ciarán
  • Collins, Michael
  • Crowe, Cathal
  • Devlin, Cormac
  • Dillon, Alan
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter
  • Grealish, Noel
  • Harkin, Marian
  • Haughey, Seán
  • Healy-Rae, Danny
  • Healy-Rae, Michael
  • Lowry, Michael
  • MacSharry, Marc
  • McGrath, Mattie
  • McGuinness, John
  • Moynihan, Aindrias
  • Murnane O’Connor, Jennifer
  • Murphy, Verona
  • Naughten, Denis
  • Nolan, Carol
  • O’Dea, Willie
  • O’Donoghue, Richard
  • O’Sullivan, Pádraig
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon
  • Phelan, John Paul
  • Ring, Michael
  • Shanahan, Matt
  • Smith, Brendan
  • Smyth, Niamh
  • Tóibín, Peadar



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