A senior Irish politician has resigned from one of her committee assignments after being told to “check your Christian values” when she arrives for meetings, according to a report in the Independent.
The senator, Sharon Keogan, wrote to legislative officials that she objected to the personal attacks she endured during a meeting.
“A member of the committee then referred to me as a ‘bigot,’ ‘crude,’ ‘cold,’ and that I should ‘check my Christian values’ when I walk in the door,” Keogan explained.
“I wish to object to this deeply personal attack on me during a public meeting and contend that the language used by the member was inflammatory, discriminatory and sought to characterize me and my contribution unfairly.”
Koegan said she was resigning from a committee on children and disabilities, but will stay on a committee dealing with surrogacy, the report said.
Several members of the Irish lawmaking body are members of both of those committees.
In her letter to Kathleen Funchion, the chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Keogan said: “I wish to inform you that I wish to resign my position as a member of the above Committee. I will continue to sit on the Joint Committee on International Surrogacy.”
She said, “I no longer feel safe or protected as a member of the committee and have made this difficult decision as a result of that. I will offer my place to an Independent senator from my grouping and will correspond directly with the Seanad office in order so that a Committee of Selection can be convened.”
She had been asked to leave a committee meeting recently regarding claims from same-sex duos and people with fertility issues when she said it’s not a “right” to have children.
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Then Lynn Ruane, an independent senator, accused Keogan of a “personal bigotry.”
Ruane claimed, “I think you’ll find that you are, and you should I think maybe you should also check your Christian values. You’re crude, and you’re cold.”
The Christian Institute reported that the committee meeting was “suspended twice” following Ruane’s accusations.
Keogan had explained to one witness at the meeting she “wholeheartedly objects to the commercialization of the human child and the relegation of women to the statues of simply incubator or wombs for hire.”
Surrogacy has been a controversial issue in multiple nations around the world, over its concept of allowing the rich to hire women to bear children for them.
Keogan had told the witnesses present, “Surrogacy I believe is harmful, it is exploitative and it is unethical. I don’t believe it is everyone’s right to have a child.”
A pro-woman organization, called The Countess, said, “No one should be bullied and silenced for talking about the ethics of surrogacy, and personalized comments from other members should have no place in the committee,” the institute reported.
Journalist Daniel McConnell also, in the Irish Examiner, explained, “In a democracy, she had a right to be heard. And the simple truth, from my perspective, is that she wasn’t heard.”
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