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Monday 22 September 2014

Taoiseach Enda Kenny heckled by pro-life protesters in Longford

Eoghan MacConnell

Published 16/06/2013 | 19:28

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrives in Ballinalee Co. Longford to unveil the Statue of General Sean MacEoin. Photo molloyphotography
Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrives in Ballinalee Co. Longford to unveil the Statue of General Sean MacEoin. Photo molloyphotography

AROUND 200 pro-life protesters jeered and heckled Taoiseach Enda Kenny today.

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He was unveiling a statue of War of Independence hero and former Government minister General Sean MacEoin.

Protesters, carrying placards displaying aborted foetuses and anti-abortion slogans, declined a request from the Taoiseach for quite as he read the names of the North Longford Flying Column in Ballinalee, Co Longford.

Having verbally abused the Taoiseach when he arrived at Ballinalee, the pro-life demonstrators chanted "keep your promise" during Mr Kenny's ten minute speech.

"Right of legitimate protest in our country of course is a right that is available to everybody and we respect that that should be a peaceful right at all times," Mr Kenny told the protesters.

"But I would like to say to those people across the road, it is my privilege to read out the 49 names of those of the flying column of Longford and I would respectfully request that they remain silent while these names are being," he added.

The appeal fell on deaf ears and protesters continued to chant and shout remarks at the Taoiseach as he read the names.

After the unveiling, Mr Kenny who was at times surrounded by stewards with linked arms, said: "I think in respect of the names of those whose names who are inscribed on the base of this statue here, it would only be right and fitting silence should reflect the contribution that they made."

"I find many issues that I am now attending from opening of schools to other occasions are being disrupted. I don't speak for those people who want to do that but as I say the right of protest is perfectly legitimate, it doesn't affect me one way or the other."

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