Latest Publication

Now available to purchase on Kindle and Paperback here.

Alternatively, copies can be purchased directly from Eryn Press by contacting us here (readers in Ireland only)

The repeal of the Eighth Amendment was a turning point in Irish social history, especially in relation to the Catholic Church. But abortion is not a settled matter, and it will continue to generate controversy. Likewise, issues such as surrogacy and assisted dying will give rise to sharp differences of opinion. Legislation that seeks to address bioethical topics such as these will inevitably provoke demands for amendments or repeal. By examining developments in biomedical science, Irish law and some central aspects of Catholic moral teaching, Don O’Leary builds a thorough analysis of controversies relating to: 

  • contraception 
  • abortion 
  • IVF 
  • Surrogacy 
  • human embryonic stem cell research 
  • assisted dying 
  • church control of healthcare services 

Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the historical background, ethical arguments and scientific advances that will inform debates about morality and social policy in the coming years

Now available to purchase on Kindle and Paperback here.


“…this book makes a valuable addition to the history of the relationship between Church and State in Ireland in the provision of health care, particularly as it relates to reproductive health.” Dr Peter Boylan (former Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin), History Ireland, January-February 2021, p. 69. Full article available online here (Subscription required).

“Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland is an excellent book…because it delivers a detailed examination of highly complex and emotionally charged subjects in a nuanced and articulate manner but remains highly accessible.” Dr Olivia Dee, Newcastle University; online review for the Women’s History Association of Ireland. Full article available online here.

“Don O’Leary has produced an excellent historical account and analysis of the development of the biomedical issues which have challenged Ireland… I would still highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the development of biomedical ethics and legislation in Ireland. I would strongly encourage undergraduate and postgraduate students, particularly healthcare professionals, to study this book.” David Smith, Associate Professor of Healthcare Ethics at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Doctrine & Life, Vol. 71, No. 7 (September 2021), p.57-p.62. The magazine is published by Dominican Publications  (subscription required for access). Website: Doctrine & Life | Journal | Dominican Publications available here

“O’Leary is a historian of Irish Catholicism whose earlier works have been published by Irish Academic Press, Cork University Press, and Continuum…His Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland: A Contemporary History of Divisive Social Issues is a useful and considered contribution to what can be a highly fraught field of discussion. His conclusions are necessarily limited, for there is no end to biomedical controversy… O’Leary notes the procrastination of government as politicians fear being too far ahead or too far behind the thinking of their voters… His book fosters respect for and consideration of all sides of the argument.” Professor (Emeritus) Colum Kenny, Dublin City University, New Hibernia Review, vol. 25, no. 3, Autumn 2021, pp.143-146.