I was born and raised in Belfast 70 years ago  and the most part of my life was spent in cities like Dublin  and Belfast  so I never really understood  the life of living in the countryside and nature. 

During the past 18 years  since  we moved to Mayo it was there  that I started  to appreciate  the seasons , the spring  the summer the autumn and the winter  and how life continue’s  in the circle of life.  But this became more important to me in the past 18 months .

 I  started A journey of recovery following A nervous breakdown in 2017 and a bad bout of (PTSD), as part of that recovery I had a long time to look back and re-assess my life and the desisions I made  over those years. 

During those early years  (1964) I saw the disrespect for human  life committed by the forces of the Northern Ireland state as they raced up and down Davis Street and the Lower Falls Road firing at will from armoured cars not worrying who they shot as we were only Irish Catholics ( or fenians as they described us). Little did I know that this was to be the beginning of the nationalist /catholic fight back against a corrupt state which was being governed by  a bible thumping fundamentalist protestant government whose only aim in life was to destroy any Catholic community living in the six north eastern counties of this Island. A form of ethnic cleansing!! at least that was how this was/is perceived within the nationalist community , this was to be reinforced a few years later  (1969) , when the catholic community asked for basic human rights just as the African American and Dr Martin Luther King was doing in the united states of america  at that time  

As a result of this campaign the government launched an un-merciful attack on the catholic community across the six counties which was to lead to a 30 year war with them and the British and their army as they once again tried to  impose their rule / misrule on the nationalist/catholic people  of the six counties .

It was at this period of my life where I saw the unqualified misery of war.  The loss of innocence , the murder of young children  and not so young men and women as their blood ran through the streets of Belfast and across the north and at that time it did not matter whether you were catholic, protestant,  Irish or British or loyalist because all blood is red and all bones are the same and all had mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and extended families who will mourn for the rest of their lives at that loss.  

Added to this this is the mental scars which last for life plus alcoholism, drug addiction and suicide, these are all side products of war and trauma where the taking of human life is justified because it’s a war, stupid  or is it ?

So let me return to my heading,  Farming families  in this and most countries have a right to protect their livestock especially sheep and that right allows them to shoot your dog if he is caught worrying or attacking the farmers sheep which can and does lead to the sheep aborting their lambs or babies as this goes on, but I have never seen or met a farmer who wants to end the life of that dog. As a matter of fact I have seen grown men and women cry because they had no option but to shoot that dog because once again some  child or parent loved that dog and that shooting will bring sadness and loss to that family and once again the circle of life continues, hurt, pain, and loss , its not someones dog it was my dog   This brings me to the 8th amendment here in Ireland and the yes vote  I have to admit I voted yes for choice even though abortion would not be my choice  I can not deny others that choice, that is a decision they will have to live with and I can’t and will not  judge them                                                             

This is a complex situation with many questions and very few answers. Some people may abuse the law, some people may have other difficulties like drugs or may be homeless or for financial reasons or the baby may be disadvantaged with a birth defect like Downs syndrome, and may not be able to cope with that scenario, these are questions I have never had to face.                                                                                   

Yet I do know families who took on that challenge and have never regretted it as that child has brought great joy  as did my great nephew’s mother.           So its not easy to make those decisions, but abortion should always be the dooms day option as that baby will always be remembered.   just as our mothers do when a tragedy of death and loss enters their life.                 

This is all written down as the CIRCLE OF LIFE a beginning and an end but abortion does not give that un-born the chance to even join the circle               

Just ask any woman who had a miscarriage or a still birth , as that prospective mother will carry that tragedy for the rest of her life and that I know from personal experience                                                                    Remember the sheep  who lost its lambs,as it wanders the field looking for her lamb or the cow who cries for days when her calf is taken from her