Mullen worry over 'abortion ready-up'


SEANAD REPORT:RÓNÁN MULLEN (Ind) said he was somewhat concerned that members of the Labour Party felt they had their tails up in relation to the legalisation of abortion in this country.

“Some of them regard the expert group as the ‘ready-up’ that they need in order to foist it on more unwilling colleagues in Government.” But any attempt to legalise abortion here would cause massive controversy, because this was the signal human rights issue of our time.

Mr Mullen said he could see nothing wrong with billboard posters that Seanad deputy leader Ivana Bacik (Lab) had complained about. “I would be very, very worried about a censorious attitude being taken to advertising that gets to a core reality.”

Ms Bacik said she had received numerous complaints about the billboard campaign by Youth Defence.

Those who had contacted her felt it was offensive and misleading. She noted that it depicted a foetus of 18 weeks or more, whereas 89 per cent of abortions took place before 13 weeks.

Stating that she did not think this was an appropriate subject for such a campaign, Ms Bacik urged that an expansion of the remit of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland be considered to facilitate the consideration of complaints about advertising of this kind.

Jim Walsh (FF) said that changes to the composition of the expert group at a very late stage had raised serious suspicions.

David Norris (Ind) said he was horrified at the peddling of the idea that people were pro-abortion, that their tails were up, or that a ready-up was being availed of.

Labhrás Ó Murchú (FF) said he applauded the willingness of many young people to be involved in a leafleting campaign opposing abortion.

Paul Bradford (FG) said while abortion was a sensitive subject, that did not mean that parliamentarians could ignore the reality of what it involved. Debasing language by calling it “termination of pregnancy” was not helpful.