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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
Project Submissions

Submission to the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (Ireland)

19 June, 2000

Table of Contents

Letter of transmission (Gaeilege)

Letter of transmission (English)

I. The Protection of Conscience Project

II. The Need for Protection of Conscience Laws

III. Predicting the Future: Attitudes in Ireland and Canada

IV. Factors Contributing to Intolerance

V. A Plea for Freedom of Conscience

VI. Practical Points


Appendix: Project Advisory Board

Letter of Transmission (Gaeilege)

19 - 06 - 2000

Do-An Toireachtas-fo-choiste illphairti ar an Mbunreacht
Do Brian Olionnachain, Cathaoirleach

A Mhic ui Lionnachain,

Ar do chaothúlacht, abair le do chómhleacaithe ar an gcóiste, chomh sasta is ataim gur lig sibh dom mo smaointe I scribhinn, a chur ós bhur gcómhair mar gheall ar chosantacht choinsiasa. Treaslaim gur pribhléid é, duine mar mise, nach mbainneann le H-Éirinn,bheith I ndon comhra libh faoi bhur mBunreacht agus faoi bhur diospóireacht inmheanach.

Ní faoi geinmhilleadh,ach faoi saoirse choinsiasa, chomh fada is a bhaineann sé le cursai leighis faoi lathair, ata na smaointe seo. Mo lean-na h-argointi faoi chúrsai léighis go dtí seo-ni raibh siad riamh curtha, ionas go mbeadh,mar deir diad (seal mhachnamh stuamtha), agus mar gheall air sin ni raibh aon mhachnamh deanta ar na rudai a tharlaionn dóibh siud ata in aghaidh geinmhilleadh de réir choinsiasa.

Níl sé deacair a thuiscint cén fáth a tharla se seo. Núair ata na hargointi seo in aghaidh go leor daoine (mar ata leirithe ag Dr. Declan Keane) - tá sé soileir nach mbéidh aon duine ina aghaidh. Ní mar sin ata sé ins an domhain mór, mar ata leirithe ag cúrsai an tsaol.

Tá suil agam go mbéidh sé seo mar chabhair ag an bhfo-chóiste agus go mbéidh cosaint choinsiasa mar bharr-chlarr in Éirinn.

Is mise
Le mór-mheas,

Sean Murphy

Letter of Transmission (English)

19 June, 2000

The All-Party Oireachtais Committee on the Constitution,
Fourth Floor, Phoenix House,
7-9 South Leinster Streets,
Dublin 2
Republic of Ireland
ATTN: Mr. Brian Lenihan, TD, Chairman

Dear Mr. Lenihan:

Please convey my thanks to the members of the Committee for the generosity they have displayed in allowing me to make a written submission concerning protection of conscience. I recognise that it is a privilege for someone who is not a citizen to address a committee of a national government concerning its own constitution and laws.

This submission is not about abortion, but about freedom of conscience in relation to morally controversial medical procedures. Unfortunately, discussions about such procedures have not always been accompanied by sufficient reflection about their impact on those who object to them for reasons of conscience.

It is not difficult to understand why this has occurred. When the procedure in question is objectionable to large numbers of people (as indicated in the testimony of Dr. Declan Keane), it is usually assumed that no one would be forced to participate in it. Experience indicates that, in the long run, this is not the case.

I hope that this submission will assist the Committee with its work, and that protection of conscience will receive due consideration in future developments in Ireland.


Sean Murphy,

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