Anti-abortion vigil held in Dublin
Several thousand people attended an anti-abortion vigil outside Leinster House in Dublin tonight.
Throughout the vigil, many participants held candles, banners and posters calling for Fine Gael to keep its “pro-life promise".
Organisers - the Pro-Life Campaign, Youth Defence, the Life Institute, and Family and Life - estimated that more than 10,000 people attended the vigil. Gardaí would not confirm a figure when contacted.
In an impassioned speech, Niamh Uí Bhrian, spokeswoman for the Life Institute, said their anti-abortion stance had not changed.
“We are not for turning and we will not yield,” she said.“We are proud to be a pro-life nation, we are here to tell the politicians in Dáil Eireann that they may have destroyed our economy but we will never let them kill our children.”
She said “The lives of our children are worth fighting for and the mothers who are driven to abortion in fear are worth fighting for and the pro life ethos in this country is worth fighting for.”
Caroline Simons, legal consultant with the Pro Life Campaign said the State was not obliged to legislate for abortion because of the European Court of Human Rights ABC case.
“There is no such obligation,” she said. “All we are supposed to do is clarify our own position in relation to abortion here...We have one of the best maternal mortality rates in the world so abortion is never the answer. It is not going to save mothers lives and we don’t want to see it on our shores.”
Ms Simons said the vigil took less than a week to organise and that the next step will be an anti-abortion rally
Among those in attendance, were the Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary, Bishop of Kilmore Leo O’Reilly, Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O’Reilly, Bishop of Ossory Seamus Freeman and the Administrator of Derry diocese Msgr Eamon Martin.
They attended with the full support of their colleagues on the Irish Episcopal Conference who are currently holding their winter meeting at Maynooth.
Catherine Kavanagh from Limerick attended the vigil “to support the pro life cause”.
“I feel innocent life should be protected, it’s a no brainer,” she said.
Alan Hannigan from Dublin who attended the vigil said: “I’m here because abortion is absolutely disgraceful and it shouldn’t be let in to the country. It’s murder. None of us has the right to kill a child and that’s just the way it is. It’s the law of heaven.”
Siobhan Casey from Kerry said people who do not want abortion in Ireland “aren’t necessarily against the mother”.
“I think it’s important to protect the mother and the child. If you’re talking about protecting the child there also needs to be care for the mother such as pre-natal clinics and peri-natal hospices, crisis pregnancy centres, not abortion centres are what is needed at this time.”