School principal ‘deeply sorry’ over abortion leaflets

Conor Feehan

A Dublin primary school has sent a letter of apology to parents after their children were given anti-abortion literature to take home.

Anne Moore, of the Harold Primary School in Glasthule, wrote the letter after the school facilitated the distribution of leaflets advertising an anti-abortion rally for pupils to take home to their parents.

The literature was not in envelopes and the information on it was plainly visible.

The leaflet handed out to children featured a photograph of a woman and baby on one side, with the message National Vigil For Life written beside it.

On the reverse it said: “Right now our Government proposes dangerous and unjust abortion legislation. Abortion for a suicide threat means abortion on request.”

The leaflet was handed out on June 7 for the pro-life march in Dublin city centre on June 8.

Children as young as five were given the leaflets by three teachers at the school, sparking outrage from parents.

The chairman of the school, Eddie Shaw, a public relations executive and former spokesman for Cardinal Desmond Connell, has resigned from the board for bringing in the leaflets. He issued a statement saying: “The responsibility for this action was mine, and mine alone.”


Mr Shaw said he was stepping down with immediate effect to prevent “any further damage” being done to the school.

He is the head of public relations at Carr Communications.

In the letter sent to parents from principal Anne Moore, she said she was “deeply sorry” that the leaflet was distributed.

“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.

“I should not have allowed the leaflet to be distributed and I made a mistake in agreeing to it.”

She went on to say that she had also apologised to the teachers involved for putting them in an impossible position, and that policy will be changed to prevent a similar incident from happening again.

Angry parents who were given the anti-abortion leaflet by their children branded the action of using them to as “an abuse of power and trust”.

One mother said: “These issues are very sensitive and completely in the domain of adults, and to use children to channel this information to influence others is totally inappropriate.”