Primary principal apologises over 'pro-life' leaflet drop
THE PRINCIPAL in charge of a primary school at the centre of an anti-abortion rally leaflet row has apologised to parents.
Parents objected after children at Harold Primary School in Glasthule, south Dublin, were sent home with pamphlets in their bags advertising the 'National Vigil For Life' pro-life march in Dublin city centre on June 8.
Eddie Shaw, chair of the Catholic primary school board and former spokesman for retired Dublin Archbishop Cardinal Desmond Connell, has since resigned from the board after accepting responsibility for bringing in the leaflets to the school for distribution.
School Principal Anne Moore said she was "deeply sorry" the leaflet advertising the pro-life rally was last week distributed to students.
"I absolutely agree that children should not have been used as a vehicle to distribute inappropriate material. I fully understand your outrage and upset and deeply regret the offence caused by my actions," she wrote to parents.
Ms Moore said she had been mistaken in agreeing to permit the leaflets to be distributed.
However, the leaflets were not sent home in every child's schoolbag, as some teachers either forgot or chose not to place the leaflets in the children's satchels.
Mr Shaw, who is head of public relations with Carr Communications, apologised to teachers and parents for the "understandable upset" caused.
Ms Moore also apologised to her teaching colleagues for putting them in an "impossible position".
The leaflet carried a message for the pro-life rally, alongside a photograph of a woman and a baby. It stated: "Abortion for a suicide threat means abortion on request."
Parents were deeply annoyed with one father saying he was asked by his five-year-old son to explain what abortion meant.
Mary Mitchell O'Connor, the former principal at Harold Primary School, said the leaflet distribution "should not have happened".
The Fine Gael TD said she had worked alongside Mr Shaw for 11 years. "Anne is an extremely capable principal and one mistake was made," she said. "She is very popular amongst parents and staff."