Meanwhile, In Belfast


Sarah Ewart outside Belfast High Court this morning

This morning.

Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Via Amnesty International UK:

Sarah Ewart and Amnesty International have won a landmark case in Belfast’s High Court today, as judges found Northern Ireland’s strict abortion law to be in breach of the UK’s human rights commitments.

[This case was launched following a UK Supreme Court judgment in June 2018, in which five of the seven judges ruled that Northern Ireland’s abortion law breaches the UK’s human rights obligations.]

The court has stated that in cases of fatal foetal abnormality Northern Ireland’s abortion law is incompatible with the UK’s human rights obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

In July, Parliament passed the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act, which will see abortion in Northern Ireland decriminalised and made lawful including in cases of risk to health, sexual crime and where there is a serious and fatal foetal abnormality, unless the Stormont executive is restored by 21 October.

In light of this law change, the Court will now seek further advice about whether a formal declaration of incompatibility will need to be made

Abortion: NI law ‘breaches human rights’ (BBC)

Pic: Sky


In a statement, Ms Ewart said:

“Today’s ruling is a turning point for women in their campaign against the outdated laws prohibiting against abortion in Northern Ireland.

“It should never have had to come to this.

“Today’s ruling is a vindication of all those women who have fought tirelessly to ensure that we never again have to go through what I did in 2013.”

Ms Ewart’s solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, said:

“This has been a long and difficult journey for our client. The Court has now formally ruled that the current law breaches our client’s human rights.

“This is a hugely significant ruling in our clients’ campaign against the discriminatory and archaic laws that have denied the rights of many.

“We now look forward to an early hearing on the question of relief, so that this matter can be finalised once and for all.”

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26 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In Belfast

  1. some old queen

    It is interesting how the tone of the Catholic bishops is much more strident on the issue in the north- they are saying thing they would never dream of saying before the referendum in ROI.

    Anyways, congratulations to Sarah and her team- well done.

    1. Rob_G

      Not sure about that – Enda Kenny was personally threatened with excommunication by a bishop before the referendum down here.

      1. paul

        funny thing about ex-communication, you’re still counted as a Catholic. Have to keep the numbers up.

        1. Rob_G

          I remember there there was that thing, and then the RCC changed canon law so you couldn’t (outstanding move, btw…)

          Q: can you still convert from Catholicism to anything else, and have it recognised? Could you just become a C of I or a Unitarian, be recognised as leaving the RCC, and then leave whichever religion you have just moved to(?)

        2. Papi

          The Catholic bishop of Oslo was done couple of years ago for putting every single person arriving in Norway from a predominantly Catholic country on the books, for which they get state aid, whether they liked it or not. Spain? Italy? Poland? Yep, they’re a member. Cops raided the office and everything, but to this day you still have to contact them to get your name removed. Pissdrinkers the lot of them.

        3. Rob_G

          @Papi – the Mormons routinely go through genealogical records from across the world, with the aim of retro-actively baptising everyone (living & dead) into the LDS church.

          Which I guess is nice, that they want us all to go to heaven with them. Can’t say that the prospect bothers me, but I could understand that Jewish people whose relatives were murdered during the Holocaust on account of their faith, might not be madly keen at the prospect of their dead relatives becoming post hoc Mormons*

          *this has happened

  2. Rob_G

    Agreed, but I have no faith in the voters in NI electing anyone different even if there were to be new elections.

  3. Daisy Chainsaw

    Congratulations to the women trying to drag Norn Iron into the 20th century. Eventually, they’ll get into the 21st.

    1. V

      Not so fast Daisy

      Did you see the Belfast City Council Shinners getting into bed with the DUeffinP to reject the motion to support Gay Marriage and Abortion Legislation?

      Mary Lou, who I admire(d) enormously hasn’t said a word – that I’ve heard anyway
      So either Mary Lou is no longer in control or the Green Party have her scared xxxxless

      and frankly, the latter imo wouldn’t worry sheep

      1. Rob_G

        SF’s new-found interest in progressive policies is purely for the benefit of floating southern voters; the boys in the backrooms of Belfast, the ones who actually control the party, have scarce more time for gays and women than the DUP.

        Mary Lou, who I admire(d) enormously… ” – really? Until when was that? She held firm on the party line and kept quiet when the attack dogs were loosed on Mairia Cahill…

      2. Daisy Chainsaw

        They’re being dragged into it kicking and screaming due to it being imposed on them because Stormont has failed. This is coming from “mainland” and the shinners and dupers can’t do a thing about it.

        1. V

          Agreed Daisy

          But they should have stood up for equal marriage and the right to choose
          Regardless of the jurisdiction

          And btw Rob
          Find something else to kick around with
          Like her performance ON HER FEET btw v the then Minister for Justice Frances Fitz and the emails
          Or her performance in the Repeal campaign

          She’s goosed now

          1. Rob_G

            V, I am not sure what her performance in the Dáil or the Repeal campaign has to do with Mary Lou’s keeping her mouth shut about the IRA rapists and child abusers that were moved from one jurisdiction to another, or when she closed ranks when SF’s attack dogs were set upon a rape victim, but fair enough.

      3. some old queen

        So they blocked a motion supporting marriage and healthcare to crowbar in something about the assembly? That is shocking.

        Sure the greens are in support of both?

  4. Cian

    Stop paying them unless they are sitting.

    Same way that SF don’t get their salary from Westminister (although they can claim expeses).

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Can’t agree more. Suits them nicely to swan around constituencies and lunch gigs on full pay. Shoulder to the wheel in a working parliament or fupp off. The reasons for the dissolution are contentious, yes, but completely overshadowed now by Brexit futures and human rights.

      1. Rob_G

        It would be gas (if it wasn’t so serious) – M O’Neill appearing for photo ops outside Westminster saying “SF are doing everything in our power to fight against Brexit” – except for actually sitting in ANY of the parliaments that you have been elected to and, you know, voting against it.

  5. ReproBertie

    In this case the suspension of the Northern Assembly, following the DUP’s dodgy financial practices, are a benefit. Unless the Assembly sits before October 21st then a bill passed in the British Dáil comes into law which will liberalise the North’s abortion and same sex marriage laws in 2020.

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