Anti-abortion protest as Michael D Higgins opens Tyrone school

Group critical of President for sigining termination Bill into law and says North won’t be next

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina are greeted by the St Patrick’s Academy senior camogie team at the formal opening of the school in Dungannon, Co Tyrone on Thursday. Photograph: Jim Kerr.

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina are greeted by the St Patrick’s Academy senior camogie team at the formal opening of the school in Dungannon, Co Tyrone on Thursday. Photograph: Jim Kerr.

 

Around 30 anti-abortion campaigners gathered in Dungannon, Co Tyrone on Thursday in protest at a visit by President Michael D Higgins, who they criticised for signing the State’s abortion legislation into law.

The Tyrone Pro-Life Network turned out at the gates of St Patrick’s Academy, a £27 million state-of-the-art school that the President was present for the opening of.

The protesters claimed the school objected to them standing at its entrance so they were situated across the road as cars carrying Mr Higgins and his entourage arrived. Those involved recited the Rosary and sang hymns.

Catherine Sewell, one of the protesters, said it was “not right” that Mr Higgins should have been invited to the school.

“The fact that a Catholic school invited him after he signed in the abortion law in the Free State, and countless babies have been murdered from January because of it, is not right, things like that can’t happen,” she said.

Rosemarie Shields, a former SDLP councillor who defected to Peadar Tóibín’s Aontu party, said they had gathered to show “that the North does not want to be next” in introducing an abortion regime.

“We want to prove to every woman and every child that we can provide a society that protects them all,” she said.