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Thursday 8 March 2012

Ireland: Church in Chains report back on the collaborative effort to raise debates on Pakistan in global parliaments on the anniversary of Shahbaz Bahtti

Dear Wilson,

I imagine that you are up to your eyes preparing for the march on Saturday.

Well – here is some good news from Ireland. Our motion (known as a Topical Issue) was selected for debate in the Dáil (Irish parliament) yesterday afternoon.

I was very encouraged by each of the contributions to the debate (I had sent briefing material to each of the TDs) and by the response from the Minister. I believe that the debate will certainly raise the profile of the issue internationally and I know that NGOs in other countries and in Pakistan will be very pleased to learn that the Irish parliament has devoted time to debating this issue.

It is also a fitting tribute to the late Shabhaz Bhatti that the cause for which he gave his life has not been abandoned by fellow-parliamentarians.

I emailed each of the contributors – Joanna Tuffy (Lab), Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind), Robert Troy (Fianna Fáil) and Pádraig MacLochlainn (Sinn Féin) – to express our appreciation for their involvement and subsequently learnt that Maureen O’Sullivan had raised the issue again later in the day with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore,  at a meeting of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee.

Our summary of the debate (with a photo of the sponsoring TDs) may be found here
The official record of the debate can be found here

Yours for the Persecuted,

David Turner

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