Wednesday 16 October 2019

Marc says u-turn is not down to political strategy

Paul Deering

Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry says it wasn’t a case of political expediency, strategy or religion that has made him decide to do a u-turn and not support the abortion legislation going through the Dáil this week.

Deputy MacSharry told The Sligo Champion that while he said initially he would back the Bill, having considered it carefully over the past number of weeks he has decided he cannot give it his support.

It was an immensely personal issue he said and he just could not bring himself to vote for it. He said he did not set out to upset anyone.

He claimed in the Dáil that abortion would become a contraceptive method being pushed by “men and not women”.

He said he was talking exclusively about men and that they would be “applying pressure after the fact.”

“I fear that this will become the contraceptive of choice for people down the line; not today, next week or even next year, but in time,” he told the Dáil.

He added: “Abortion will become something that is the norm rather than for the hard cases. That is a concern for me.”

He later told the Irish Independent: “There have been about eight million abortions in the UK since the 1967 abortion law was enacted.

“And I suppose I have difficulty that these are all hard cases,” he said.

“It could be half a million (abortions) in Ireland over 40 years.

“And it’s men I’m talking about, opposed to taking the appropriate precautions for contraception.”

The Sligo/Leitrim Deputy’s stance has drawn much criticism with Health Minister Simon Harris describing the comments as “horrific and bizarre”.

Deputy MacSharry told The Sligo Champion that he understood he had annoyed a lot of people but that he didn’t set out to upset anyone.

One of the leading campaigners on the Yes side in the recent referendum, Bernie Linnane from Dromahair said: “Last May, following the referendum result, Sligo/Leitrim TD Marc MacSharry, told his constituents

“I have no difficulty separating my personal view from my legislative responsibilities and as such I will be supporting the legislation when it comes before us.”

“In the Dáil chamber Deputy MacSharry informed us that he would now not be supporting the legislation.

“I’m sure such a man of conscience can see that, as he is unable to fulfil the responsibilities he himself outlined, the only honourable course of action is for him to resign his seat. The people of Sligo/Leitrim voted Yes by a large majority.”

Deputy MacSharry will not face any action by his party leader Micheal Martin on the issue as there’s a free vote on the issue.

The constituency’s other three TD’s, Deputy Tony McLoughlin (FG), Deputy Eamon Scanlon (FF) and Sine Féin’s Martin Kenny have all said they will support the legislation.

Sligo Champion