Friday 20 April 2018

Creighton mail shows depth of opposition to X Case clause

Minister insists stance won't change

TD Lucinda Creighton is believed to have called for 'emphatic' amendments to the abortion bill.
TD Lucinda Creighton is believed to have called for 'emphatic' amendments to the abortion bill.

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

JUNIOR Minister Lucinda Creighton has told constituents that legislating for the 1992 Supreme Court X Case is "not an agreed position of the Fine Gael party".

The details of her private emails, released under the Freedom of Information Act, are another indication of the depth of her opposition to including the threat of suicide as a ground for abortion.

This was the key issue in the X Case, in which a 14-year-old pregnant rape victim was allowed to have an abortion because she was suicidal.

Ms Creighton's private email to her constituents was sent after the publication of the expert group report on abortion and before the abortion bill was published, but clearly stated her views.

"As you know, I have made my position very clear on this issue in the past and will continue to do so," she wrote.

"It will take some time to arrive at a considered solution. We recognise the requirement for legal certainty, but legislating for the X Case is not an agreed position of the Fine Gael party."

In another email, Ms Creighton responded to a woman she had met briefly in Buswell's hotel outside the Dail.

"I can assure you that my position on the right to life remains unchanged and I will ensure that it is heard at the highest level in the Fine Gael party and in government," she told her in an email.

Other emails sent to Ms Creighton's office show she was under pressure from many constituents in Dublin South East to vote for the abortion bill.

One correspondent said the constituency was one of the most liberal in the country, and that she would vote for someone else at the next election if Ms Creighton continued not to represent her views.


Another told her to leave her "Catholic conscience" outside the legislature, and referred to the death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway.

"It is a continuing disgrace to this country and its rulers that so many women have to skulk over to Britain every year for an abortion," wrote another correspondent.

"If you cannot support a change to this, then at least support something which will ensure no more episodes like the recent Galway horror."

Yet another person said they had been at first amazed, then depressed, to see Ms Creighton's name "in a list of men" who wanted to stop legislating for the X Case.

"Do you really want to prolong the suffering of women who are forced to travel to the UK?" asked the correspondent.

Ms Creighton also had to deal with many emails which were personally abusive.

One read: "As Ireland's most self-centred politician since Charles Haughey, it's inevitable that Lucinda Creighton would put her conscience about abortion above the views of her constituents."

Another said: "The idea you are pedalling (sic) that women will pretend to be suicidal to gain access to abortion is abhorrent."

When the expert group on abortion published its final report last November, Ms Creighton received 121 emails on the subject in one week.

In a sign of the attention her stance has attracted, this was more than Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who received 79 emails in the same week.

The contents of the emails were released under the Freedom of Information Act, but the names of the senders were redacted.

As well as the emails attacking Ms Creighton, there were many from supporters. People congratulated her for not being a "yes woman" and said she was in their prayers.

Irish Independent

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