Halligan: 'Church has no right to be our moral compass'
'There have been a number of deeply disturbing reports over the last number of weeks of the level of abuse and intimidation deputies are receiving from pro-life activists and the Catholic Church on the protection of maternal life bill.
"Like many other members, I have been subjected to abuse and have even had people come to my house after midnight. There have been several serious incidents of verbal abuse aimed at deputies, some of whom have been ambushed outside their houses, spat at and threatened with having their homes burned down. One deputy has been threatened with having her throat cut.
"Last week, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called on the Government to do away with the whip. No doubt, the Tanaiste is aware of attempts by the church to compare his Government to a totalitarian regime.
"On Tuesday, Catholic bishops issued a statement claiming people were being misled on the debate and that the Government is not obliged to legislate on the X Case. We now have senior Vatican officials calling on deputies who might be Catholic to resign if they support the bill.
"Does the Tanaiste agree that here is an organisation that is non-democratic, anti-democratic, historically anti-woman and which has the most dreadful record on child protection?
"Does he agree that this organisation has no right to be the State's moral compass and is in no position to lecture anyone on human rights, given its blood-stained history from pre-medieval times with crusades across Europe and the Middle East, its submission to and sufferance of the Nazi regime in war-torn Italy and the irreparable damage it has done to human beings, particularly children, internationally?"
Deputy John Halligan in the Dail last week.