Minister Dick Roche assures Church leaders that Reform Treaty protects Ireland’s constitutional position on right to life and provides for open and regular dialogue with Churches
The Minister for European Affairs, Dick Roche, T.D. has assured members of the Inter-Church Committee that the Reform Treaty explicitly protects Ireland’s constitutional position on the right to life. “Suggestions to the contrary are mischievous and misleading”, the Minister said.
“The Reform Treaty reaffirms a guarantee inserted into the EU Treaties in the early 1990s. This states that nothing in the EU Treaties can affect the application in Ireland of Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution. This could not be clearer. It has protected Ireland’s position for 15 years and will continue to do so under the Reform Treaty”.
Referring to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Minister Roche said that this was one of the most attractive features of the Treaty. “The Charter is given legal status by the Treaty. It sets out the rights enjoyed by EU citizens. However, the Charter does not extend the EU’s powers. It applies to the EU’s institutions and to Member States when they are implementing EU law. The Charter explicitly recognises freedom of religion and respect for the rights of parents to have their children educated in conformity with their own religious convictions”, the Minister said.
“From the point of view of the Churches, one of the most important aspects of the Treaty is its commitment to respect the status of churches and religious associations. The Treaty provides for open, transparent and regular dialogue with the Churches. This is a very valuable initiative. The Government’s own national structured with the churches reflects this proposal”, the Minister said.
Minister Roche praised Cardinal Brady’s homily in Rome last weekend in which he expressed a deep understanding of the positive role played by the European Union in developing peace throughout the continent and indeed in helping to overcome divisions in Ireland. “I was particularly impressed by the Cardinal’s recognition that the principles of solidarity and peace which inspire the European Union are akin to the values at the heart of the Gospel,” Minister Roche said.
Note for editors
Minister for European Affairs Dick Roche, TD, was addressing a meeting of the Irish Inter-Church Committee in Dundalk. Cardinal Sean Brady, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, and Rev Tony Davidson, President of the Irish Council of Churches, co-chaired the meeting.
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