Bishops join anti-abortion protest outside Dáil
Several thousand people attended an anti-abortion vigil outside Leinster House last night.
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, attended the rally.
Throughout the vigil, many participants held candles, banners and posters calling for Fine Gael to keep “their pro-life promise”. The protest was organised by Pro-Life Campaign, Youth Defence, the Life Institute, and Family and Life.
Organisers estimated that more than 10,000 people were at the vigil, while a Garda source put the figure at closer to 5,000. Niamh Uí Bhriain, the spokeswoman for the Life Institute, said their anti-abortion stance had not changed.
“We are not for turning and we will not yield. We are proud to be a pro-life nation, we are here to tell the politicians in Dáil Éireann that they may have destroyed our economy but we will never let them kill our children.
“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," she said.
Ms Uí Bhriain urged Fine Gael to keep its “pro-life promise”. Caroline Simons, a legal consultant with the Pro-Life Campaign, said: “A lot of the media imply we are obliged to legislate for abortion because of the European Court of Human Rights ABC case.
“There is no such obligation. 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,” she said.
Ms Simons said next step will be an anti-abortion rally.
Catherine Kavanagh from Limerick said she was there “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 abor-tion is absolutely disgraceful and it shouldn’t be let into 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 don’t want abortion in Ireland aren’t necessarily against the mother, I think it’s important to protect the mother and the child.”