Protecting children from protest banners

Tue, Jun 18, 2013, 00:14

Sir, – I attended the new primary school official opening in Enfield, Co Meath on Friday. A joyous occasion for everyone who had worked tirelessly for many years to achieve this.

A joyous occasion also for all the pupils who had written comments such as awesome, spacious, light, and happy in the ceremony booklet about their new school.

The school was officially opened by Bishop Michael Smith, and by Enda Kenny.

The ceremony was to take place at the going-home time for the junior and senior infants (four to six years old) and the rest of the school pupils were assembled to witness the event.

A handful of pro-life protesters with banners had congregated at the entrance to the school, capitalising on the visit by An Taoiseach and two other TDs.

I absolutely support anyone’s right to protest – thankfully we live in a democracy.

I do however feel it is utterly inappropriate for anyone to have graphic images of terminated foetuses on display at the entrance to a primary school as such young pupils were leaving.

Such actions will not progress anyone’s cause, and may indeed have the opposite effect on adults who may have had sympathy for the position of the protesters prior to that.

We regulate and protect our children from graphic and inappropriate video, game, and sexual content. In the worst days of the Troubles protesters against the men of violence did not show graphic images of knee-cappings or torture.

On Friday, as the children were hurried away from their wonderful new school on a day of celebration, I was reminded of the awful scenes in Belfast years ago of school children having to run the gauntlet against sectarianism.

I suggest that the pro-life movement needs to consider the impact of such actions at any rally in the future, or that legislation is brought in to do so in such situations. – Yours, etc,

NIGEL BANNISTER,

Enfield,

Co Meath.