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Frozen embryos have no right to life: Irish court
Reuters ^ | November 15, 2006 | Paul Hoskins

Posted on 11/15/2006 1:50:53 PM PST by NYer

DUBLIN (Reuters) - A woman lost her fight to have a child without the consent of her estranged husband on Wednesday when an Irish judge ruled frozen embryos did not enjoy the same constitutional right to life as those carried in the womb.

Justice Brian McGovern said most agreed frozen embryos resulting from infertility treatment deserved special respect but ruled "the right to life of the unborn" in the Irish constitution did not extend to them.

"I have come to the conclusion that the three frozen embryos are not 'unborn'," the judge said in a landmark High Court ruling complicated by the fact that existing legislation does not define "unborn".

"There has been no evidence ... to establish that it was ever in the mind of the people voting on the Eight Amendment to the Constitution that 'unborn' meant anything other than a fetus or child within the womb," McGovern added.

The judgment means spare embryos frozen after successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2002 will not be returned to the mother.

She had argued an embryo's right to life meant she could be implanted with them despite the objections of her clinic and of a husband who left her four years ago. The couple are separated but remain man and wife.

The case has sparked heated debate in predominantly Catholic Ireland where abortion is outlawed except in cases where the mother's life could be endangered.

WHERE LIFE BEGINS

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the case raised "serious concerns" about the level of protection afforded to human life under the Irish constitution.

"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception," Martin said in a statement, referring to the Catholic Church's doctrine on human life.

"From the first moment of his or her existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person."

McGovern, who has asked the media not to reveal the identity of the couple, acknowledged there was much disagreement about when life begins but that he could not resolve that issue.

"What is clear is that a debate which has existed over centuries continues to this day even with the major advances which have been made in medicine and science," he said.

"Even within different religions, there can be disagreements as to when genetic material becomes a 'human being'. But it is not the function of the courts to choose between competing religious and moral beliefs."

It was now up to Irish lawmakers to decide what steps should be taken to establish the legal status of embryos resulting from IVF treatment, he said.

The woman was married in March 1992 and had a son in 1997. She lost two thirds of her right ovary during the removal of a cyst shortly after the birth and had a daughter in October 2002 following the IVF treatment.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: cultureofdeath; embryo; ireland; moralabsolutes
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1 posted on 11/15/2006 1:50:59 PM PST by NYer
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


2 posted on 11/15/2006 1:51:41 PM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: NYer
"Justice Brian McGovern said most agreed frozen embryos resulting from infertility treatment deserved special respect but ruled "the right to life of the unborn" in the Irish constitution did not extend to them."

Interesting use of the word 'them' in the context of denying their humanity.

If they aren't human, wouldn't 'those' be more accurate?

3 posted on 11/15/2006 2:01:09 PM PST by GourmetDan
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To: NYer

Apparently, life, under the Irish Constitution, is cheap.


4 posted on 11/15/2006 2:09:09 PM PST by My2Cents
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To: My2Cents
Apparently, life, under the Irish Constitution, is cheap.

Well, not as cheap as it is in the state of Missouri, to name just one of 50 examples that come readily to mind.

5 posted on 11/15/2006 2:20:21 PM PST by madprof98 ("moritur et ridet" - salvianus)
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To: NYer

I wish our constitution gave as much protection as the Irish constitution, even if it does have a loophole for frozen embryos.

But think about this -- if a frozen embryo was treated by law as identical to a fetus in a womb, then you could be prosecuted for murder I guess if you made a lab error and killed one of them, or if the power went out and the cryogenics stopped working.

Can we really say that a lab mishap with an embryo is the same as taking action to kill a growing fetus in a womb?


6 posted on 11/15/2006 2:29:42 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

Yes, actually, that's the Catholic position, which is why the Church opposes in vitro fertilization, because it's virtually impossible to do without killing some of the embryos in the process.

This predicament would not have arisen if the couple in question had not turned to an unnatural procedure for giving birth, and had not also gotten divorced. It was already a mess by the time it got to the court. Nevertheless, the decision was wrong. The fetuses are genetically distinct from the mother and father; they are human; and they are alive, although frozen, since only life can bring forth life.


7 posted on 11/15/2006 2:48:40 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

" if a frozen embryo was treated by law as identical..."

...to a human, then after being frozen 21 years, it could legally drink, vote, and drive.


8 posted on 11/15/2006 2:48:59 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com)
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To: NYer; Coleus; wagglebee; Colosis; Black Line; Cucullain; SomeguyfromIreland; Youngblood; Fergal; ...
The Irish Supreme Court has been trying to legalise abortion since 1992, even though Bunreacht na heireann [Constitution of Ireland] specifically forbids it:

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Personal Rights

Article 40

3. 3° The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

Ireland Ping.

9 posted on 11/15/2006 3:14:58 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
I wish our constitution gave as much protection as the Irish constitution, even if it does have a loophole for frozen embryos.

See post #9, it's not really a loophole - it's on shaky ground, but the only way we can reverse the decision is by referenda - otherwise the Irish Supreme Court's decision is final.

10 posted on 11/15/2006 3:18:14 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: Irish_Thatcherite

referenda = referendum, single not plural.


11 posted on 11/15/2006 3:19:06 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: gcruse

Is there a point to your flippant comment?


12 posted on 11/15/2006 3:23:34 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: NYer

Good.


13 posted on 11/15/2006 3:48:13 PM PST by MonroeDNA (Libertarians are more conservative than pubbies. Strictest interpretation of the constitution,)
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To: NYer


All embryos are life, right? So Miscariages should involve 911, and everything possible should be tried to save the fetus.

Even if it is one week. Even if it is a little ball of cells, or even one cell.

Right, everyone?


14 posted on 11/15/2006 3:51:51 PM PST by MonroeDNA (Libertarians are more conservative than pubbies. Strictest interpretation of the constitution,)
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To: MonroeDNA
Good.

You take pleasure in the death of innocent people??

15 posted on 11/15/2006 4:02:02 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: MonroeDNA
All embryos are life, right?

Yes.

So Miscariages should involve 911, and everything possible should be tried to save the fetus.

Yes.

Even if it is one week. Even if it is a little ball of cells, or even one cell.

Right, everyone?

A human life is a human life, end of story!! Why is that so difficult for you to understand??

16 posted on 11/15/2006 4:04:38 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: Cicero

--Yes, actually, that's the Catholic position, which is why the Church opposes in vitro fertilization, because it's virtually impossible to do without killing some of the embryos in the process.--

It's practically impossible to try to procreate naturally without having a fertilized eggs die.


17 posted on 11/15/2006 4:07:46 PM PST by UpAllNight
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To: My2Cents
Apparently, life, under the Irish Constitution, is cheap.

Not the Irish Constitution - but the way our Supreme Court and our Government continues to shred it to pieces.

18 posted on 11/15/2006 4:07:53 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: UpAllNight
It's practically impossible to try to procreate naturally without having a fertilized eggs die.

If that is true, then it's by natural causes.

19 posted on 11/15/2006 4:09:01 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: UpAllNight

Miscarriages and natural failures to implant are not deliberate killings. Christians believe that God has the power of life and death; we don't.


20 posted on 11/15/2006 4:10:01 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: All

Mistake:

It's the High Court, not the Supreme Court - I assume this can be therefore challenged further.


21 posted on 11/15/2006 4:10:56 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: Irish_Thatcherite

Just making sure of your position.

So if a woman and a man conceive, but the single cell does not implant into the uteres, but is discharged instead, it should be saved and nursed to life?

Is that your position?


22 posted on 11/15/2006 4:15:12 PM PST by MonroeDNA (Libertarians are more conservative than pubbies. Strictest interpretation of the constitution,)
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To: MonroeDNA

How does anyone even know if that happens?


23 posted on 11/15/2006 4:20:34 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: Irish_Thatcherite

Thanks for the ping Irish.

I'm happy to know your constitution protects the most innocent.


24 posted on 11/15/2006 4:21:06 PM PST by fanfan ("We don't start fights my friends, but we finish them, and never leave until our work is done."PMSH)
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To: Cicero
"Miscarriages and natural failures to implant are not deliberate killings. Christians believe that God has the power of life and death; we don't."

So it is OK for nature to kill, and you should do nothing about it?

If God decides to make a woman miscarry at one day, should we do nothing?

What about one week?

What about one month?

What about 28 weeks?

When do we intervene? Or do we intervene? Who decides?

What if a woman miscarries at 15 weeks? Should we do what we can to save it?

25 posted on 11/15/2006 4:21:07 PM PST by MonroeDNA (Libertarians are more conservative than pubbies. Strictest interpretation of the constitution,)
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To: Irish_Thatcherite

Of course it happens, all the time.


26 posted on 11/15/2006 4:22:30 PM PST by MonroeDNA (Libertarians are more conservative than pubbies. Strictest interpretation of the constitution,)
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To: CharlesWayneCT; Cicero
if a frozen embryo was treated by law as identical to a fetus in a womb, then you could be prosecuted for murder I guess if you made a lab error and killed one of them, or if the power went out and the cryogenics stopped working.

RIGHT TO LIFE
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person -- among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Catechism Catholic Church

27 posted on 11/15/2006 4:23:12 PM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: Irish_Thatcherite

Ping!


28 posted on 11/15/2006 4:26:13 PM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: MonroeDNA
That's not what I meant, let me rephrase that - how does anyone know when it happens? If it can be known, then sure - then try and save the life.
29 posted on 11/15/2006 4:27:06 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: fanfan
Thanks for the ping Irish.

You're welcome!

I'm happy to know your constitution protects the most innocent.

Yeah, pity our High and Supreme Courts disregard the very wording of it! That article was passed by Referendum in 1984 - but at the time it was predicted that the Supreme Court would make an ambigous ruling based on 'equal regard for the life of the woman', and the X-Case Ruling in 1992 considered suicidal tendancies to be a 'threat to life of the mother' - meaning that if our government ever legislated on it, we would have abortion-on-demand by the back door.

30 posted on 11/15/2006 4:32:35 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: NYer

Thanks - that helps with the ongoing debate on this thread! :)


31 posted on 11/15/2006 4:33:45 PM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: MonroeDNA

I think you misunderstood me. Sometimes women have miscarriages, and nothing can be done about it. It just happens, and it's too late to do anything.

Naturally if a miscarriage can be prevented, it should be.


32 posted on 11/15/2006 4:44:31 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Irish_Thatcherite

--If that is true, then it's by natural causes.--

Then we are just following nature.


33 posted on 11/15/2006 5:42:21 PM PST by UpAllNight
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To: NYer

Isn't the official position of the church that embryos cannot be fertilized and frozen like this, because most of them never DO get implanted and therefore they are virtually "killed", even if they might happen to exist in a frozen state until they become non-viable?


34 posted on 11/15/2006 6:00:52 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT
Isn't the official position of the church that embryos cannot be fertilized and frozen like this, because most of them never DO get implanted and therefore they are virtually "killed", even if they might happen to exist in a frozen state until they become non-viable?

Yes.

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong

HUMANAE VITAE

35 posted on 11/15/2006 6:06:39 PM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: Cicero
"Naturally if a miscarriage can be prevented, it should be."

The reason many women in the USA will never support any attempt at overturning Roe v Wade.

Scientists and politicians have created a horrible Catch 22 situation.
On the one side, of the extremist pro-life position, it seems logical to assume that at some point, a fertile adult female might be punished/prosecuted for having a normal menstrual cycle and "murdering" a perfectly viable egg.

OTOH, of the extremist pro-abortion position, a fertile adult female might actually be punished/prosecuted for birthing a "less than perfectly healthy" infant, and/or conversely have her ovaries forcibly removed by government orders, if DNA suggests her "eggs" would be helpfull in scientific research...

The "slippery slope" is what all of us are currently enjoying.

Neither extremes are willing to remember that females are actually full human beings,entirely deserving of all the rights, respect, duties, and responsibilities of any male human being.

But having personally endured five miscarriages, all medically termed as "spontaneous abortions", I am personally adamently against "elective" abortion. I am also "against" the harvesting of female ovarian eggs, in-vitriol fertilisation,
36 posted on 11/15/2006 7:02:08 PM PST by sarasmom
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To: UpAllNight
It's practically impossible to try to procreate naturally without having a fertilized eggs die.

So what? Everybody dies some time or another; some younger, some older. What are you going to do; equate death by natural causes the same as murder?

37 posted on 11/15/2006 7:15:03 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: MonroeDNA
So it is OK for nature to kill, and you should do nothing about it?

What an idiotic question. Supposing *nature* did kill, which is can't because nature isn't even a thing,;what WOULD you do about it? Try it for murder? Sue it? How about get a grip.

38 posted on 11/15/2006 7:18:01 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: wagglebee; little jeremiah; NYer; WKB

ping


39 posted on 11/15/2006 7:18:39 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: MonroeDNA
Even if it is one week. Even if it is a little ball of cells, or even one cell.

Another stupid scenario. Women don't even know they're pregnant at that stage, and if the egg doesn't implant, she'll never know.

40 posted on 11/15/2006 7:21:57 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom

I guess judges are fiends in human form all over the world. :-(

I'll ping it out tomorrow unless my co-pinger gets to it first.


41 posted on 11/15/2006 8:13:14 PM PST by little jeremiah (Jesus' message is not "BUY MORE STUFF"!)
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To: MonroeDNA

911 could do nothing to save a miscarriage except tell the woman to get on bedrest and call her OBGYN, who might phone in some progesterone.

BTDT.




42 posted on 11/15/2006 8:30:01 PM PST by littlehouse36 (Said the Grasshopper to the Ant)
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To: MonroeDNA

Miscarriage usually happens because the baby is already dead.

Sometimes, a woman will "miscarry" or deliver prematurely because of dialation or low progesterone. In the earlier case, the cervix is "stitched" and in the latter, bedrest and progesterone are prescribed.

In the case of premature delivery, if a baby can live outside the womb then by all means he/she should be saved. In most of the examples you give however (<28 weeks) this is not the case.



43 posted on 11/15/2006 8:40:21 PM PST by littlehouse36 (Said the Grasshopper to the Ant)
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To: Irish_Thatcherite
The Irish Supreme Court are nothing but a bunch of demon bastards.

Now shall I tell you what I really think?

44 posted on 11/15/2006 9:33:51 PM PST by Maeve
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To: Irish_Thatcherite

Yes. for those with the ears to hear.


45 posted on 11/15/2006 9:55:55 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com)
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To: NYer
Frozen embryos have no right to life: Irish court

So what?!

Neither do thawed out ones, implanted ones, ones that are still inside Mom, and soon, coming to a 'caring' facility near you, ones that have been born, but are considered to have 'poor chances' in life!

46 posted on 11/16/2006 4:05:22 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going....)
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To: MonroeDNA



RIGHT!


47 posted on 11/16/2006 5:57:28 AM PST by dcnd9
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To: Irish_Thatcherite
IT...I'm sure that you've spoken about abortion to your friends, neighbors, or person in the stool beside yours at the pub.
What would you say is the prevalent opinion on abortion amongst the Irish, oh, twenty-five thru forty years of age?
48 posted on 11/16/2006 6:09:58 PM PST by jla
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To: Maeve
Now shall I tell you what I really think?

I'm probably thinking the same thing about the High court and Supreme Court! :-P

49 posted on 11/17/2006 10:35:29 AM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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To: jla

This country is still predominantly pro-life, but many are fooled by the whole "under certain circumstances" nonsense!


50 posted on 11/17/2006 10:37:22 AM PST by Irish_Thatcherite (A vote for Bertie Ahern is a vote for Gerry Adams!|What if I lecture Americans about America?)
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