Today, Friday 31 January, Archbishop Eamon Martin and Bishop Michael Router have issued a statement concerning the 2020 General Election.
The bishops said, “On Saturday 8 February the people of Ireland go to the polls at a very difficult and challenging time for many in our country. Each week seems to bring its own sad news story of violence and crime, suicide, hardship or addictions. This election provides an opportunity for citizens to choose those who will govern our country and a chance to set out the changes they wish to see.”
The key issues raise by the bishops in relation to the election were:
- Housing: The right to own one’s own home is a basic human right. The next government needs to put people first and not always be bound by market forces and private developers.
- Health Care: Our health system must be enabled to put patients’ needs first, reducing waiting time for treatment and ending the indignity of an ill person being left on a trolley for long periods.
- Crime and Gangland Violence: The Irish people are concerned about the huge increase in the sale and abuse of illegal drugs which have fuelled gangland violence and led to an erosion of law and order in many local communities.
- Brexit: The Archdiocese of Armagh straddles the border and will be greatly affected by ‘Brexit’. It will be extremely important that the free movement of people and goods across the border will be maintained and that the process of peace building, reconciliation and understanding on this island is not threatened in any way.
- A consistent culture of life: Our politicians, and all who serve the common good, have an important, but challenging, responsibility to support laws which uphold the dignity of every human person made in God’s image – even when this is not the popular opinion to hold. Laws and policies that fundamentally contradict the moral law, such as those that would violate the life and integrity of any person at any stage, from conception to death, are fundamentally unjust and must be opposed, not only on the grounds of faith, but also by virtue of right reason.
In conclusion, the bishops said, “It is a privilege and a social responsibility to vote in elections and something that should never be taken for granted.
“We encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote, and, before doing so, to question and challenge the candidates on these important issues. We also ask for prayers for our politicians – that they may build in Ireland a truly compassionate society that respects all life and puts people first.”
(Source: Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference)