Catholic Primate of All-Ireland Cardinal Seán Brady has said that any attempt by the Irish government to legislate for abortion as a result of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights on the so-called ABC case would be “vigorously and comprehensively opposed by many."

Cardinal Brady, speaking at the opening of the Edmund Rice Summer School in Mount Sion, Co Waterford, on Friday, said it was “important as a church that we prepare with others to defend the equal right to life of a mother and child against any effort to introduce abortion to a country which is one of the safest places in the world for mothers who are expecting a child."

“The debate about these issues is about to intensify in our country over coming months. It is important that we all have the courage to make our voices heard. It is important that we do justice to the logic and human reason behind the values we hold," said Brady, according to the Irish Times.

“They cannot be relegated to the realm of private religious beliefs with no place in our laws or public policy in the name of secularism or tolerance.

“These values are rooted in human reason and available to all. They have the same right to be heard, promoted and respected in our laws and to be put to the people in democratic decisions as other, perhaps less representative, views,” he added.

The Irish Times reports that the cardinal's remarks refer to a 2010 landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that found that in the case of three women, known as A, B and C for the purposes of the case, the Irish State had violated the rights of C.

The woman, known as "C", had a rare cancer and feared the cancer would return when she became unintentionally pregnant. She was unable to establish whether she qualified for a lawful abortion in Ireland, despite a ruling of the 1992 Supreme Court X case which found there should be access to an abortion when a woman’s life is believed to be at risk because of pregnancy, including the risk of suicide.

Last year, the Irish government formed a group of experts, led by Justice Seán Ryan of the High Court, to examine how best to implement the European Court of Human Rights' decision on the case.

Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean BradyAP