FINE Gael TD Brian Walsh has revealed that he received hundreds of messages of support after publicly declaring his opposition to any suicide clause in the planned abortion legislation.
The Galway West TD said he had also received dozens of vitriolic messages but insisted they were far outweighed by the hundreds of positive ones.
"It has evoked a very strong reaction from people. I've literally had hundreds of calls, emails, and texts to the office which have been overwhelmingly supportive. I'd be telling a lie if I said they were all in support – there has been a nasty element as well from obvious sources," he said.
The TD said he did not focus on the critical messages, none of which were of a threatening nature. "There were some nasty messages, I tend to delete them when I realise the nature of it. But they were far outweighed by the positive," he said.
Mr Walsh said the level of support would cause him to question recent polls that suggested that the majority of people were in favour of legislation including a suicide clause.
Despite insisting he could not vote for the legislation as it currently stands, Mr Walsh called for the decision to be put to a referendum, adding that he would stand by the outcome.