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Threat to burn minister's home over abortion bill

Health Minister James Reilly has received a letter threatening to burn him and his family out of their home from an opponent of the abortion bill.

He also said that he had 40 protesters outside his family home in Rush in north Dublin – and criticised the people who had put up graphic pictures of abortions in the town while children were making their First Communion.

Dr Reilly is the latest politician to reveal that he has received a death threat – with complaints recently in the Dail that one TD had been threatened with having their throat slit.

He said that he had recently received a letter to his family home from opponents of his abortion bill "threatening arson".

But he said that it would not affect his plan to bring through the bill to allow for abortion when a woman's life was at risk.

"After six governments failing to do it, I feel it has to be done. I know people will make threats and possibly say things they don't really mean but it doesn't make it any less upsetting," he told the 'Fingal Independent' newspaper.

A spokesman for Dr Reilly could not be contacted for comment about whether he had reported the arson threat to gardai. It also could not be established if the letter was signed or anonymous.

Dr Reilly's revelation comes after Taoiseach Enda Kenny complained of getting letters written in blood, plastic foetuses and warnings that he would have the deaths of 20 million babies on his soul.

The Life Institute – which is opposed to the bill – recently complained that Mr Kenny had been demonising legitimate pro-life protests.

But another Fine Gael TD told the Irish Independent privately yesterday that he had also got a death threat and that all the intimidation was coming from people opposed to the abortion bill.

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