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Wednesday 21 November 2018

Anti-abortion group picket Ahern's home

AIDEEN SHEEHAN

AROUND 250 people picketed the Dublin home of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern yesterday, demanding he honour his election promise to hold a referendum on abortion.

AROUND 250 people picketed the Dublin home of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern yesterday, demanding he honour his election promise to hold a referendum on abortion.

The protest, organised by Youth Defence, was attended by controversial US anti-abortion activist Joe Scheidler.

Mr Scheidler is due to address a Pro-Life Conference at the RDS today on anti-abortion tactics.

Protestors carrying large photographs of bloods-smeared foetuses marched from Parnell Square to the Drumcondra home of Bertie Ahern, claiming the government is showing signs of retreating from its promise to hold a referendum.

Youth Defence spokesman Justin Barrett defended the decision to picket the Taoiseach's home as opposed to government buildings, saying Mr Ahern had deliberately cultivated a ``very personal'' style of leadership.

``We want politicians to take more responsibility as individuals for what they promise.''

``We called on him personally as you would on anyone you were asking to keep a promise,'' Mr Barrett said.

Despite government claims that no acceptable wording for a referendum could be found, Youth Defence said the government must explain what was wrong with the pro-life wording the group had come up with.

Meanwhile the Dublin Abortion Rights Group said it would picket today's conference to highlight the ``intimidatory'' methods used by anti-abortionists.

Described as ``the green beret of the pro-life movement'', Joe Scheidler (71) is a father-figure among radical pro-lifers, and although he now claims to be opposed to violence against doctors and clinics, has been closely associated with many who favoured such tactics in the past. See Review Two.

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