Harris attacks Church on communion lectures
Health Minister Simon Harris has launched a scathing attack on the Catholic Church for "dragging" young children into the abortion debate.
The minister said attempts by some priests to use first communion and confirmation Masses to discuss Friday's referendum were inappropriate.
He also criticised a decision by the Church to prevent Independent Alliance TD John Halligan from acting as a confirmation sponsor for his godson.
Mr Harris said he respected the right of the clergy to oppose repealing the Eighth Amendment but said their previous stance on political issues must be scrutinised.
"These are people who were actively campaigning from the pulpit against marriage equality. They were against that. Against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy. Against contraception," he said.
Meanwhile, in a message issued yesterday, Bishop of Kerry Ray Browne appealed to people to vote No. He said the legislation being proposed was "extreme" and would introduce a "system similar to Britain". "Please pray that the people of our country will choose to vote No, thus honouring and defending the life of every unborn child," he said.