Senator defends 'ageist' abortion comment
SENATOR Catherine Noone has insisted she is not ageist after criticism of a tweet on the abortion debate which described a Mayo priest as an “octogenarian”.
Ms Noone, who is pro-repeal, was unhappy that abortion was brought up during Easter Mass and said there was a time and place for such discussion.
Her tweet – which has since been deleted – said: “Easter Mass in Knock Basilica this afternoon with my parents – an octogenarian priest took at least three opportunities to preach to us about abortion – it’s no wonder people feel disillusioned with the Catholic Church.”
This led to criticism from the Save The 8th campaign, which had called for Ms Noone to withdraw the comment, claiming it was “embarrassing and wrong”.
“Yes campaigners are allowed to engage in open ageism against our senior citizens,” a spokesman said.
“This is a running theme in the Yes campaign – that old people, who are more likely in their view to vote No, are consistently denigrated,” he added.
Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Ms Noone said: “When I do go to Mass, I don’t expect to be confronted with the issue.
“Maybe that’s naivety on my part,” she added.
However, Ms Noone said she had been attempting to “paint a picture” by using the term “octogenarian” in her tweet.
“I’m not ageist, anyone who knows me knows I’m not ageist,” she said.
The Senator – who chaired the abortion committee before Christmas – added that she had been subject to criticism and abuse online for almost everything she had said over the past eight months.
She said the tweet was deleted because she did not need the negativity that came in response to it.
The Dublin Senator said she “should have known better” than to have sent the tweet given the reaction she has been receiving to her online posts.
Ms Noone said negative responses to her tweets had become a feature of her daily life.
“Certain people are trying to take anything I say and construe it in a certain way,” she added.