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ARMAGH, Northern Ireland ( - The Irish bishops are placing abortion after environmental issues in their list of issues to be considered by voters.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, whose diocese is located in Northern Ireland, issued a statement Sunday urging Catholics in Northern Ireland to vote in the forthcoming U.K. Westminster election scheduled for June 8. The statement lists concerns to be weighed by voters as follows:

  • Employment opportunities and good housing
  • An environmentally sustainable society — renewable energy and reduction of waste
  • Protection of every human life from conception until natural death

​In their statement, the bishops singled out the environment and not abortion as the "key consideration" for voters.

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Other issues on the bishops' list that came after abortion and euthanasia include education, immigration and Brexit. The bishops, however, singled out the environment as the "key" issue in their statement. Referencing the encyclical by Pope Francis titled the bishops professed that it highlights "our fundamental need as Christians and as citizens to care for the future of our common home the earth."

Building on this point, the bishops said the upcoming election at Westminster "plays a key role in influencing legislation and policy about the future sustainability of our planet both locally and internationally." They then called this environmental issue a "key" concern for voters. "This should be a key consideration for those concerned with the common good in the forthcoming election, including continued commitment to the agreements reached at the recent Paris summit on climate change, " read the statement.

Before giving the list, the bishops called voters to focus on certain social justice issues such as poverty, unemployment and wages:

[W]e continue to have significant levels of unemployment and low-wage employment. these issues are directly related to funding and other policies that are determined by the Government at Westminster. It is important that this election gives voice to the particular needs and concerns of this region, which for too long has been among the poorest on these islands.

Their statement notes that hospitals are suffering from financial needs, owing to "a challenging winter with increased pressure on committed staff working within a deteriorating infrastructure." Nothing was said, however, about the political climate which forces hospitals to perform abortions, sterilizations and other immoral practices. Recently, the Sisters of Charity ended their 183-year-old involvement with St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin so that their former hospitals could be free to run without the constraint of Catholic ethics.

After the section on poverty and another on the issue of Brexit, the statement gets to "life issues." The statement :

The political and legislative culture of the Westminster Parliament has a significant impact on a wide range of issues to do with the fundamental dignity and right to life of every person, from conception to natural death. The Gospel of Life invites every follower of Jesus to work for a world in which the inherent beauty, dignity and integrity of every person, irrespective of their stage or state of life, is fully protected and respected.

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