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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Eamon Gilmore declines to condemn Catholic Church for opposing abortion bill

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has said he is not going to condemn the Catholic Church for expressing its opposition to the Government’s abortion bill.

It came after Independent TD John Halligan complained that Catholic Church was “intimidating” TDs about the bill – and was threatening them with excommunication. 

And he said that TDs had been spat at and threatened with  having their house burnt down by people opposed to the bill.

But at Leader's Questions in the Dail, Mr Gilmore said he believed that the Catholic Church had a right to express its views on the bill.

“I will not join the deputy in condemning the Catholic Church or any other Church. It is my view that the Catholic Church and all Churches and all citizens of this state have every right to state their view to Government on any issue which is of public importance,” he said.

Mr Gilmore also said he did not think that anyone should “crank up the heat” and start throwing “fuel on the fire” when there was a need for a rational debate.

However, he agreed with Mr Halligan that people who protest against the abortion bill had to do so peacefully.

“Anybody who is expressing their  view to a public representative ought to do respectfully and in a reasonable way,” he said.

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