SDLP suspend three councillors on Belfast City Council

From the BBC

On Monday night, the three Belfast City Council members abstained on a vote condemning harassment and intimidation of people outside the facilities.

It is understood Pat Convery, Kate Mullan and Declan Boyle have been suspended for an indefinite period.

The SDLP had seven members on Belfast City Council but now it has only four.

Mr Convery, a former lord mayor of Belfast, will be replaced as SDLP group leader, and Kate Mullan will be replaced as deputy leader.

The party said its Councillors had been instructed to support the motion, brought by Green and Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) members, during Monday’s council meeting.

Here is the said motion

Update-Declan Boyle says he has “no regrets” 

,

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    Well, that’s entirely up to yourself. Attempting to label those that are pro-life as being unsupportive of human rights is a bit of a bendy spoon I must say

  • Gaygael
  • mjh

    Just for the record, Mick, TE is right. The SF vote share improved in every constituency and there is no consistent geographical pattern of better or worse relative performance that I can see.

    The total votes cast this year for all parties and independents increased by 9%. Compare that to the SF increase:
    Belfast E 24%
    BN 26%
    BS 46%
    BW 26%
    EAntrim 41%
    EL’derry 44%
    FST 17%
    Foyle 45%
    LaganV 72%
    MidU 38%
    N&A 36%
    NAntrim 43%
    NDown 93%
    SAntrim 49%
    SDown 50%
    Strang 68%
    UBann 26%
    WTyrone 31%

  • Granni Trixie

    Boyle is a rep in SB as well as a Holyland landlord. Has he a base in Strangford too?

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    The court judgement labels me nothing chief

  • Jag

    “their arguments are based on the ‘right’ to express ideas which are of religious origin”,

    as a pro choicer, even I have a difficulty with this. Religious dogma may indeed influence or convince some, but most pro lifers I have ever met are convinced by something deeper. Like you and me, they see a newborn baby as inherently valuable, you and I would defend a newborn baby against harm whereas we mightn’t be as quick to defend an older child or an adult. Most pro lifers I know see the day before birth as similar, and so on back to conception. They just see it as instinctively wrong to kill a newborn baby (as you or I do) or a foetus. Religious dogma has little to do with it in my experience.

    I take a different position and argue a sperm or ovum doesn’t have value, even though they have the ability to grow into a foetus and baby. And that even in union, a sperm and ovum don’t have significant value until advanced, to around the 20-week mark. After that, I’m with the pro lifers, except where there’s a significant risk to the health of the mother, or the baby suffers from a significant disability including fatal-foetal condition. Religious dogma has nothing whatsoever to do with my position.

  • grumpy oul man

    Says someone who can never have a baby .

  • Gaygael

    The court is the arbiter on these cases. I respect it as an authority on HR law.

    Pro-Life is a misnomer. I prefer anti-choice.

  • Gavin Smithson

    Why do councils debate such things anyway?

    Isn’t their job to make or amend by-laws?

    I never understood the point of passing pointless motions in support of this or against that when there is no material by laws or rates affected as a result

  • Gavin Smithson

    What does that matter? Only women can adjudicate on murder? Such rot

  • Gavin Smithson

    I venture that if a UI ever came about, that many Roman Catholics would look once again to morality as a factor in elections and SF would suffer as a result.

    The DUP should reform itself into a party of right wing conservative Christians of both RC & P.

  • Lionel Hutz

    I agree with you totally Mick.

  • Korhomme

    An interesting viewpoint, Jag, thanks. I can’t really make any sensible criticism. I’d maintain that the idea that ‘life begins at the moment of fertilisation’, which is a theological argument, is still a significant if unvoiced part of pro-life thought.

  • Korhomme

    If the life or health of the mother is at risk, then the person qualified to make that assessment is a doctor.

    That’s fair enough, but the doctor’s hands may be tied by the law when dealing with a pregnant patient and recommending treatment.

  • mickfealty

    93% in North Down still brought them In behind the SDLP. The rises I outlined got them important seat holds and damaged unionism.

  • Croiteir

    The murder of a chid is wrong, if people believe otherwise they are msiguided

  • Jimmy

    Many pro-life supporters get on as if anyone who is pro-choice supports murder or we want people to have abortions, THIS IS NOT THE CASE. I personally wouldn’t want to have an abortion and wish people didn’t want to, however the central principle of being pro-choice, is choice and I don’t think it is fair to tell a women who has been raped that she has to continue on with that pregnancy created in one of her darkest moments.

  • Croiteir

    are you making that up?

  • Croiteir

    Have you stopped beating your wife?

  • Croiteir

    I don’t think it is fair to condemn the child to death for the sin of the father

  • Croiteir

    What harassment has occurred or is this all alleged?

  • Croiteir

    A very strange motion to be passing as the only institution I know of that has been closed due to reported investigations into mistreatment of vulnerable women.is Marie Stopes

  • mickfealty

    I’ve since heard they’d asked for advice from hq, which they then ignored. Puts a rather different complexion on matters.

  • Korhomme

    I don’t know whether anything has happened or not recently. Bernadette Smyth was done for harassment a couple of years ago, but subsequently acquitted. Other than that, I don’t know.

  • hgreen

    Do you feel the same about childless couples who choose IVF and thus get involved in the destruction of what you call “unborn human babies”? Do you suggest peaceful protest at your GP surgery for providing IVF advice?

  • hgreen

    What about IVF?

  • hgreen

    But you feel it is fair to torture the mother. Weird.

  • hgreen

    Should we ban women who repeatedly miscarry from trying to getting pregnant?

  • hgreen

    Would that be the good old Catholic Church days of institutionalised child rape?

  • hgreen

    Just like the Catholic Church became a cold house for progressive Catholics and Catholics who oppose the torture of children who are actually living.

  • Jimmy

    What are you talking about?.. I have never beaten anyone.

  • Hugh Davison

    What is a child (or chid) Croiteir?

  • DP Moran

    And there are people like myself who support the current definition of marriage and oppose abortion. We haven’t gone away you know.

  • AntrimGael

    I am vehemently anti abortion but the harassment of any person going into this place is just wrong. I may disagree with some of the advice and options it offers but we all stand or fall by our own decisions and aggressive acts don’t help anyone. I subscribe to the Catholic teaching on abortion and believe individuals will ultimately have to answer for what they did in the hereafter.

  • Croiteir

    No – but if torture exists, there are ameliorating measures that are applicable that would not murder the child, nor would the extent of the torture be as final as the murder.

  • Croiteir

    Go on – what about it

  • Croiteir

    Exactly my point

  • Croiteir

    Over your head then Jimmy

  • Croiteir

    a non adult

  • Croiteir

    That is an odd construct, by that I mean the last paragraph.

  • Croiteir

    I am amazed by those who say that they support abortion, or denigrate those that oppose it because some oppose based on religious grounds. You know the sort of person who would say that they are “pro-choice” is because some arguments against abortion are based on religious precepts (e.g. `God’s will”) and they are atheist. Because an argument is framed in terms of “God’s will” is no reason that it cannot be framed in terms which do not presume the existence of God. An assertion is not necessarily false if the line of reasoning leading to it as a conclusion is shown false. For example, Maxwell’s equations were derived assuming the existence of a luminiferous ether.

    It is also “God’s will” that (putting aside the question of abortion) you do not kill, that you not steal, and that you do not bear false witness against one’s neighbour. Should atheists then be allowed to murder, steal and perjure?

    Every system of morals needs a `God says so’ in one guise or another, for there are no philosophical truths (even if we use as loose a criterion of `truth’ as that of agreement by a majority of philosophers). Those who object to `God says so’ say Natural Rights says so’ or `Kant’s axiom of nonaggression says so’, or `Ayn Rand says so’.

  • Croiteir

    Just for balance – who are really harassing women? Why no calls from the Greens or PUP to close down businesses that endanger women, perhaps we should be protesting outside these places to get them to close if we were concerned about human rights.

    http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/cqc-inspections-uncover-concerns-marie-stopes-international-clinics-so-specific-pregnancy

  • Croiteir

    I think you enjoyed Spoil Bastard too much? any local politician/party spring to mind

  • Korhomme

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

  • Jag

    “life begins at the moment of fertilisation”

    Ah, but that’s not the pro-lifer argument Korhomme.

    When the sperm reaches the egg, within minutes, possibly as an outlier, in days, after ejaculation, you get a fertilised egg. The pro lifers don’t appear to have any objection to you zapping the life out of the fertilised egg with the morning after pill at this stage.

    If the morning after pill didn’t get it, the fertilised egg moseys on down to the womb where it attaches to the wall, and that’s when the pro lifers (most I know anyway) say the pregnancy starts. That can be a week, typically, after fertilisation.

    As I say above, my view is, neither the sperm nor the ovum by themselves have value, nor does the union (the fertilised egg) have significant value until week 20 (why week 20? same reason as the speed limit is 70mph) after which, it does have significant value and certain rights (rights which are trumped by woman’s right to health for example).

    Not sure that changes the principle of anything you say, but as Michael Caine never said, not a lot of people [seem to] know that.

  • hgreen

    Does that not involve child murder as well?

  • hgreen

    Go on tell us more about these measures that help raped and pregnant women.

  • Jag

    “I don’t think it is fair to tell a women who has been raped that she has to continue on with that pregnancy created in one of her darkest moments”

    What if the raped woman wants the pregnancy in month 9 of her pregnancy, Jimmy?

    “Why would she wait nine months”, I hear you ask. Possibly because feelings towards a foetus conceived in this way can be very complex, and may only come to a tipping point as she nears birth.

    But regardless, Jimmy, should a raped woman in month 9 be able to abort her pregnancy?

  • hgreen

    More nonsense. By that stupid logic we close down hospitals that make mistakes as well.

  • Korhomme

    The pro lifers don’t appear to have any objection to you zapping the life out of the fertilised egg with the morning after pill at this stage.

    That’s not how the ‘morning after’ or emergency contraception pill works.

    This pill delays or prevents ovulation, thus preventing fertilization. (It may alter the endometrium, preventing implantation, though this is very uncertain.) The prevention of fertilization is indirect.

    An ‘abortion’ is technically the disruption of an already implanted and fertilized ovum. As the ‘morning after’ pill doesn’t do this it is therefore not an abortifacient.

  • Jimmy

    Then she has to deal with the consequences of her decision, by getting advice from centres such as Marie Stopes without harassment. Marie Stopes offer at 24 hr helpline for women who have had an abortion. THEY SHOULD NOT BE HARRASSED IN DOING SO.

    An a raped women should not be able to abort her pregnancy in month 9, catch a grip, I don’t think anyone supports that. Abortion should be available up to weeks aprox. 16 – 24.

  • grumpy oul man

    No you haven’t gone away but thankfully the iron grip of the Catholic Church has broken.
    The treatment of unmarried mothers. Mass graves of babies and the I’ll treatment of those born have shown the hypocrisy of the church’s “pro life” stance .
    Abortion has always been with us and probably always will be but in the past it was carried out in secret and in dubious conditions resulting in many cases deaths or injury to the women,. People who are pro choice are not pro abortion they are pro choice, they trust women to control there own fertility.

  • Jag

    “An a raped women should not be able to abort her pregnancy in month 9, catch a grip, I don’t think anyone supports that.”

    SF does. It supports abortion in cases of rape and incest, and I have never heard their position restricted to weeks, as in, “Abortion should be available to rape victims up to week 24 of the pregnancy, but not afterwards”.

    In the South, SF supported the amendment to the laws there which allow an abortion in cases where the health of the mother is threatened, even mental health, so again, in theory, in month 9, a suicidal mother can get an abortion of what would otherwise be a healthy baby when born days later.

    I happen to think SF are well-intentioned, but they also muddy their position, and despite appearing liberal, they don’t, for example, support abortion on demand up to week 24.

  • Vince

    I think the 3 councillors here have exercised very poor judgement and have created an unnecessary problem for themselves and the SDLP. I feel that they should have emphasised their pro-life views (which I agree with), supported the right for peaceful, dignified protest AND voted for this motion.

    This was about NOT harassing people. What true democrat could not support this? They could also have proposed an amendment supporting the right for peaceful protest in any and all circumstances. The latter might actually have unveiled dissenting voices on the other side of the abortion argument.

    Regarding some other posts on here, there are obviously some misconceptions about. Being pro-life does not carry any requirement to adhere to Christian or other beliefs (“religious nut-job” terminology is unhelpful, intolerant and illiberal). It has also been suggested that those with pro-life views are often in favour of capital punishment. This is nonsense in this country (although I accept there may well be significant overlap elsewhere). It is probably worth pointing out however that many of those who would be rightly appalled by capital punishment have quite a liberal (and opposite) view on the issue of abortion and the right to life of the developing human.

  • Croiteir

    More nonsense. Or at least have some sort of disciplinary procedure to remove those exposing the public to danger, instead of passing motions condemning non existent problems

  • Croiteir

    Go on tell us about this torture? Just go across the street to Scranton who provide the necessary care, medical, psychological and practical.

  • Croiteir

    Yes

  • Reader

    Jimmy, here you are:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question
    I’ll not add anything because I don’t think this particular sub-thread is going anywhere…

  • Reader

    Gaygael: Pro-Life is a misnomer. I prefer anti-choice.
    I’m pro-choice myself, but I think you’re missing the point with the labels. Using positive labels for the other side means that the dialogue can last for several exchanges before descending into abuse. Someone may even begin to understand the other perspective.
    Whereas if the sides refer to each other as anti-choice and anti-life then the slagging starts immediately.
    It’s the same with politics – it’s helpful to refer to each other as Nationalists and Unionists instead of Traitors and Traitors.

  • Gaygael

    That’s a fair point. One a good friend has made to me before.

  • Gaygael

    I would advise you to speak with some women that at hand ace accessed MSI or FPA, or Brook a few years ago. You could also ask the staff of these organisations.

    You will find countless tales of vile, aggressive harassment by Bernie and her cohorts.

  • Gaygael

    Our policy is actually decriminalisation. We might be the first party on the island to have that policy.
    WAtch others follow us until this is the mainstream. Just like with equal marriage. Where we lead on social issues other progressives follow.

  • Gaygael

    Yes but thankfully you are an ever shrinking minority.

    The great difderance in our political position she is that you will never be forced to have an abortion or marry someone of the same sex. Your life will be completely unchanged.

    YOUr position inhibits me from having me relationship equally recognised by the state as the relationships of my 3 siblings. When my ma marched for civil rights in the 60s she didn’t think that one her children would still face legally enforced discrimination 50 years later.
    Your position also doesn’t stop abortions, except for poorer women. Wealthy women fly away and increasing numbers purchase pills online. Others self administer.

  • Zorin001

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/24/we-christened-your-dead-baby-belfast-clinics-anti-abortion-marie-stopes

    The Guardian did a series of these articles a couple of years ago and I know people who have had run-ins with Precious Life and would verify this and more.

  • hgreen

    Why do the pro life zealots not picket GP surgeries and hospitals then?

  • hgreen

    What for the rest of the woman’s life? 30, 40 or 50 years?

  • grumpy oul man

    apart from in theory, do you have any evidence to support you claim, maybe a statement from a member of SF! anything at all,like anything, you know like proof.

  • Croiteir

    I don’t know any pro life zealots – if I did I would ask them

  • Croiteir

    And again what about it

  • Jag

    Like statements from prominent SF members? Here’s John O’Dowd:

    “In cases of rape, incest or sexual abuse, or where a woman’s life and health is at risk or in grave danger, we accept that the final decision must rest with the woman.”

    “Sinn Féin is not in favour of abortion nor do we believe that the 1967 British Abortion Act should be extended to the Six Counties”

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/10410

  • Croiteir

    So just make it up then and let them disprove it

  • Croiteir

    It seems that they undermine the argument about harassment when in spite of these body cameras and the rest of it they can get nothing to prove it. So a sympathetic piece for pro abortionist cannot support the allegation

  • Croiteir

    And how did their accusations against Brook, MSI, or the FPA go?

  • grumpy oul man

    So no actual proof then, just a assumption really.

  • Ryan A

    It’s Stanton. The fact you of all people don’t know that speaks volume.

  • Ryan A

    I believe the council are now investigating their powers to confer safe zones around these clinics.

  • Korhomme

    Eh?

    I don’t live in Belfast, I don’t often visit, I don’t keep up to date with what’s happening locally. If I say ‘I don’t know’ it means I am ignorant of what’s happening.

    Nonetheless, I wonder why such a motion was put to Belfast Council. I cannot imagine that the Council discusses entirely imaginary events, things that simply have not happened, or aren’t likely to happen. While it’s possible that some councillors make things up as a pivot for discussion, when these things haven’t happened, as a way of getting at ‘themmums’, isn’t this just a tiny bit improbable here? Or do you have better information?

  • Korhomme

    Murder, in common law parlance, is the causing of the death of a person who is both alive and breathing, and with malice aforethought. In legal terms, it is impossible to murder the unborn.

  • Korhomme

    The ‘morning after pill’ is a form of contraception. It does not cause an abortion. Pro-life campaigners often claim the opposite, that this pill is an abortifacient. It isn’t.

    Is that what you mean by an ‘odd construct’?

  • hgreen

    This article was about pro life zealots. Now quit trying to avoid answering the question.

    Your doctor probably gives out IVF advice, you know just like the stopes clinic gives out advice. Have you boycotted or picked your GP?

  • hgreen

    So you feel we should let the state punish a raped woman throughout her life because of your personal religious belief?

  • North Down dup

    Don’t let them wind you up, there is still a lot of people out there who supports the unborn babies rights. We know it’s murder, it’s embarrassing listing to people trying to justify why people murder there unborn babies,
    They will have to face God one day

  • Croiteir

    No body is winding me up, their arguments are devoid of any rationale apart from “because it suits me”

  • Croiteir

    No

  • Gaygael

    A protestor convicted of assaulting a member of staff in one of the places still regularly protests outside.

    Did you call them yet to ask?

  • Croiteir

    Call who? The members of the public that were exposed to risk that required Marie Stopes to close them down?

  • Gaygael

    The staff working at the organisations. Or even a conversation with the staff about their clients experiences of the ‘protestors’.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Every sperm is sacred, eh? Madness.

  • Croiteir

    I am referring to your “absence of evidence” line. A smart alecky line, in the same mould as “let us see the bastards deny it”.

    You know, or should for someone of your intelligence, know why it was proposed. It seeks to establish the line that killing children is healthcare, it seeks to establish protest against abortion is wrong, and the next step is to kick it up to Stormont, once that is established, to get it banned.

  • Korhomme

    1. Look around carefully; the ‘absence of evidence’ is very often misused in an attempt to mislead people, or at least this is how it appears.

    2. I really don’t know why this motion was proposed; whether it was in response to harassment, real or imagined, previous, present or future; or whether, as you say, it was a disguised attempt to gain credence for the ‘pro-choice’ lobby. Do you know that, or is it a supposition?

    I note that the DUP voted for the motion; the DUP are distinctly anti-abortion. If the motion was a piece of political gamesmanship, have the DUP been duped?

  • Croiteir

    1 – Perhaps, but must be looked at as what it is.
    2 – yes , it is my supposition

    As for the DUP – more likely scared of the wording and what it could be spun as.

  • North Down dup

    Your always on the money, I got the wrong Boyle, my mistake.