The Bishop of Ossory says the Eight Amendment vote will "shape the kind of Ireland that we have"

A Catholic bishop has claimed that abortion is more traumatic than rape for some women.

Dr Dermot Farrell, the Bishop of Ossory, has also claimed that once introduced, abortion would be extremely difficult to restrict.

His warning came in a letter which was available in the diocese.

But Bishop Farrell said while it was available at every mass, it may not have been read out.

"It was available in the church... some priests may have read excerpts of it, others may have published part of it.

"It's unlikely any of them would have read the entire thing in its completeness", he said.

Bishop Dermot Farrell | Image:

"My fundamental argument is that the right to life is fundamental - and that all other rights are based on that, no matter what other right we talk about".

On the issue of abortion in cases of rape, he said: "First of all rape is a violent act and it's a violent crime against a woman - a terrible crime.

"And sometimes, what I understand from women who have been raped, is that the abortion that followed sometimes after rape was far worse than the rape itself".

He claimed the issue of abortion is "the most important social and justice issue of our time.

"It's going to shape the kind of Ireland that we have.

"What we're voting on here is not just a law, but a value system".