Wednesday 24 January 2018

Campaigner nerves fray outside Dail

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

CAMPAIGNERS on both sides of the abortion debate staged overnight demonstrations outside Leinster House as TDs debated the contentious legislation inside.

Anti-abortion groups were led in prayer and also held silent vigils outside the Dail while a pro-choice group camped on Kildare Street in tents.

Fr Michael Daly, from Limerick, led the anti-abortion group in prayer, while campaigners also held placards with graphic pictures of aborted foetuses.

Tim Jackson (23), from Donegal, who works for anti-abortion group Youth Defence, defended the photos and claimed they showed the reality of abortion.

"The posters are very graphic, they detail the reality of abortion and for a country that is going to legalise abortion and make it acceptable, it is surely reasonable that they should know what abortion is," Mr Jackson said.

Pro-choice campaigner Patricia Grennan, from Rathgar, Dublin, called the abortion legislation a start and said she was annoyed with some anti-abortion protesters.

"They are so righteous, this legislation has to go through in order for us to move on as a country and it is time they woke up and the church woke up and let us move on."

Friends Eleanor White and Kerry Guinan, both 21 and from Dublin, were among those camping on Kildare Street. Both are pro-choice, but had mixed views on the legislation.

"It's some legislation, it's not enough because it is the most restrictive," Ms White said.

"It should have been dealt with 21 years ago."

However, the protests heated up later on yesterday evening, with both groups chanting at each other.

As anti-abortion protesters prayed, pro-choice campaigners told them to "go back to Craggy Island", the island from 'Father Ted'.

There were also minor scuffles outside Leinster House as both sides tried to raise their placards higher than each other, before gardai intervened and separated them.

Irish Independent

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