Our latest Last Man Standing competition concluded recently with Tom O’Connor and Kevin Murphy sharing the €300 prizemoney which was sponsored by Diarmuid Collins. Pictured are Tom and Kevin being presented with their cheques. Also in the photo is Darren Murphy (seller) and club chairman Denis Murphy. The club sincerely thanks Diarmuid for his sponsorship.

Athea Community Alert

A meeting of Athea Community Alert will take place in the hall on Monday night, May 21st at 7 o’clock. A Garda Crime Prevention Officer will attend. Anybody worried about their home security should attend. Everybody welcome.

Athea Cohmhaltas Branch

The annual Church gate collection will take place this weekend 19th/20th May. Your support would be much appreciated.

The Referendum 

By Domhnall de Barra 

The referendum to abolish the eight amendment to the Constitution takes place on May 25th and, as usual with anything to do with abortion, it has thrown up huge divides between those who favour keeping the amendment in its present form and those who want it removed so that  politicians can legislate for a limited abortion. Both sides are making cogent arguments to get us to vote in a particular way and some of the advertising is far too graphic and scaremongering but it behoves each of us to look at all the facts and weigh up all the consequences  before we put pen to paper at the polling booths.

As it stands, the lives of the mother and the unborn child are to be given equal rights of survival. This is very difficult to do and has given problems to medical practitioners who have had to make a choice to save either one or the other in life or death situations. There is the sad case of one woman who died because of this problem but what will the situation be if there is a change and there is no protection in the constitution for the unborn?   Our legislators will have to come up with an answer and many people are fearful of what that answer may be and how easily it might be changed in the future. Do we trust politicians?  Many do not but we have to, to a certain extent. Democracy may not be a great form of government but it is the best we have and that means putting our trust in certain people to run the country on our behalf for a limited period of time. If we don’t like what they are doing we have the opportunity to vote them out of office at the next election. They are more than aware of this so they will never do too much to upset the voters.

There are a few facts we have to face. The eight amendment does not stop abortion. Women from Ireland travel to the UK every day to have terminations and they have a legal right to do so. This will not stop if there is no change. Since this is a reality anyway should they not have the opportunity of being treated in their own country. Those opposed say that if this happens it will be the thin end of the wedge and will open the doors to abortion on demand, something that nobody wants. It is a legal and moral minefield. Some agree with the availability of limited abortion in certain circumstances while others are totally opposed to abortion at any time or for any reason. Much depends on  the understanding of when a foetus becomes a human being in its own right. There are those who believe that human life exists from the moment of conception while others say it does not begin until it is capable of independent existence and there are many shades of belief in between.

There are those who would like to see laws that penalise women who have an abortion. Laws may penalise them but they will not stop the practise. Prohibition has never worked and never will. Certain drugs are illegal but they are freely available in every town and village in the country. The prohibition on alcohol in America had to be repealed but in the meantime it created the mobs that control the rackets in most cities today. I think it is more of a moral issue and one of personal belief. The Church is involved in the campaign for a no vote but making something legal does not make it morally right. It is a sin to have sex outside marriage but it is not illegal so those who believe in the church’s teachings are bound to obey them in any case.

So, we have to choose.  Voting no will maintain the status quo but it will leave the same problems behind as now exist. Voting yes will allow limited termination to be decided by legislators that will at least stop the migration of women to another jurisdiction and give them greater medical care at home but will it stop at that?  My personal opinion, as a man, is that women should decide. It is their bodies and their choice to make within the prevailing laws and I trust them to make the right decision, however we all have a right to vote and we should exercise it on the 25th no matter what our beliefs. Don’t be pressurised by either side. Look at the facts, look into your heart and make your decision. That is democracy in action and the only way ordinary people can have their say. Voting on our own future is a right we did not always have in this country and it is a right that should not be taken lightly by us. Just remember that, whatever result  the referendum throws up, abortion will not become compulsory!