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Fears of attack at college pro-life protest

A Member of a pregnancy counselling clinic had to be escorted from Maynooth University last week amid fears of physical attack from 'pro-life' students.

Tensions ran high during Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) week at the one-time clerical university outside Dublin.

A representative from the advice clinic Marie Stopes Reproductive Choices was not safe on the college grounds due to the behaviour of protesters and had to be personally escorted when she arrived at the campus to pre-empt any physical attacks or assaults.

"The representative was met by the Students' Union and was escorted to the hall where the event was taking place. This was due to the number of 'pro-life' protesters. Our representative was also escorted from the venue out a side door," said Gabrielle Malone, programme director of Marie Stopes Reproductive Choices.

Elizabeth Murray, Vice President of NUIM Students' Union, denies any violence occurred but labelled the pro-life protest as "intimidating and upsetting".

Leaflets were given out by the protesters, which Ms Malone said were "grossly misleading and libellous".

There were also reports of water bombs being thrown at the representative of the clinic but the college denies this.

Marie Stopes Reproductive Choices is a Dublin-based sexual and reproductive health specialist where counsellors provide professional support and advice.

The Union of Students in Ireland distributed 40,000 sexual health awareness packs across the country last week. Each pack had a condom and information on contraception.

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