DUBLIN, November 24, 2003 ( – European Life Network (ELN), an Irish-based lobby group, is making an urgent call on bishops, politicians and the world’s pro-life leaders to persuade the Irish government to oppose European Union funding for research using embryonic humans.  Mr Patrick Buckley, ELN’s director, is today writing to the Irish hierarchy, members of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) and his opposite numbers overseas to ask them to contact Mr Bertie Ahern, the Taoiseach (prime minister).  Mr Buckley’s letter points out that the European Union’s council of ministers will this week decide on the EU’s sixth framework research program which would support research on human embryos. Ms Mary Harney, the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister), who will represent Ireland at the council’s meetings, has said on television that she will support the research program.  ELN is asking for assistance in persuading Mr Ahern to instruct Ms Harney to oppose the program.  The letter says: “What is at stake here is the constitutional guarantee of the right to life from the moment of fertilisation. We must encourage Mr Ahern not to act like Pontius Pilate and try to wash his hands of this vital matter. He is the person in charge and needs to take a stand. The buck stops with him.”  Mr Buckley also writes: “Not only would it be wrong for Ireland to be associated with approving such a programme but we must stop Irish taxpayers’ money from supporting unethical research.”  The letter quotes Cardinal Desmond Connell, the Archbishop of Dublin, as calling on the government to take a “prophetic stand in defence of human life” by opposing this program. Ireland’s constitution guarantees the right to life from the moment of fertilisation. The European Parliament has approved the research program which also needs the council of ministers’ support. Ms Harney leads the Progressive Democrat party which is the junior coalition partner with Mr Ahern’s Fianna Fáil.  Mr Ahern’s private office can be telephoned on 01-619-4020 or 01-619-4021 or 01-619-4043, or faxed on 01-676-4048, or emailed as ta[email protected]


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