The US billionaire, Chuck Feeney, has long been funnelling his spare millions into bringing a little of America back home for us all. Unfortunately it is often the bad bits he wants us to embrace. Just last week one of the outfits he shovels cash into, the Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL), registered a complaint to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Their cause for complaint was Ireland's 'failure' to legalise abortion. According to the Irish Examiner, the Committee of Ministers is responsible for ensuring the European's Court’s rulings are implemented.
The ICCL made an eight page submission complaining of the governments failure to act on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling in the ABC case and warned that there was resistance to such a move from government backbenchers. The council’s director, Mark Kelly bemoaned a "background of religious conservatism and political intransigence" and was critical of the expressed political view that the ECHR rulings were not binding. He called on the Committee to pressurise the Irish government into implementing the ECHR ruling.
Of course it is not the first time the ICCL have tried to influence international bodies to exert pressure on Ireland to change its pro-life laws. Their 2011 report to the UN, "Rights Now," also made a strong call for the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. 'Rights Now' cost a tidy €190,000 to produce and was also paid for entirely by Chuck Feeney, from his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies.
Ironically the ICCL highlighted their undemocratic mandate in their recent report. They complain that Irish society is resistant to the introduction of abortion and that there is "mounting opposition" from within the government. All of which is a positive indication of the effect of the Youth Defence/Life Institute ongoing campaign on the ground.
The ICCL in the meantime operate pretty much independently of the Irish people, and if their funding sources are anything to go by, are answerable only to Chuck Feeney. The most recently published figures showed that Atlantic Philanthropies had paid the ICCL a handsome $7.7million. The Irish public had only donated meagre amounts by comparison (€8,882 in 2009 for instance). It's pretty clear who is calling their tune.
Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that abortion campaigners were now "desperately appealing to every outside agency possible because they had failed to win the support of the Irish people, and feared that the political parties were becoming increasingly cautious of approaching the abortion issue."
"The ICCL complains Ireland to the Council of Europe and previously to the UN; they are acting like small children carrying tales, except that their motives are a lot more sinister. Seeking this kind of outside interference is an attempt to deny the Irish their right to decide on abortion, and it must be exposed and rejected," said the Life Institute spokeswoman.
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