TD received ‘disgusting’ anti-abortion material in Government envelope

Timmy Dooley has ‘no issue’ being sent such material but says it is difficult for female staff

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley, who favours repealing the Eighth Amendment, has described as "disgusting" graphic anti-abortion material which was sent to him in an envelope franked with a Government harp.

Mr Dooley received a leaflet in an envelope last week depicting graphic scenes of foetuses. Along with the Government harp, it was also marked freepost and was delivered to him in the Oireachtas without a stamp.

“Why am I receiving, disgusting, anti- abortion material in a envelope with a harp marked freepost and delivered by the postman?” he asked on Twitter.

Mr Dooley said it would be illegal to use Government stationary to campaign in this manner in relation to the forthcoming referendum on abortion.

“It is disturbing that elements of the No campaign would engage in this type of behaviour,” he said.

‘No issue’

The Clare TD said he was used to receiving graphic material from anti-abortion campaigners and usually threw it in the bin. He said he had “no issue” with receiving such material but it was difficult for female members of his staff.

However, in this instance he said he was disturbed that the sender appeared to be using Government envelopes.

“This seems to be a campaign by somebody indicating that it came from a State agency and that it was being used more widespread than to members of the Dáil,” he said. “It would be effectively using a service illegally to affect the outcome of a referendum. They are trying to usurp the authority of the harp in the first instance. An envelope with a harp has a validity to it.”

The leaflet depicts foetuses and states "Ireland says murder is wrong" and it quotes from the Bible. No name nor organisation was identified on the leaflet.

Mr Dooley said the material was counterproductive. “I don’t think the shock tactics work. People want to hear real stories. At the end of the day, that will guide people on this occasion,” he said.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times