Woman who shared emotional moment with Simon Harris says he’s ‘an absolute hero’

Laura Mahon seeing talking to and hugging Simon Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris was seen sharing an emotional moment with Yes supporter Laura Mahon in Dublin Castle on Saturday. Video: @Niamh_Cupl


Simon Harris is a hero for Ireland, according to Yes supporter Laura Mahon who was seen talking to and hugging the Minister for Health in Dublin Castle on Saturday.

A video emerged on Twitter of Ms Mahon in tears sharing an emotional moment with Mr Harris outside the count centre after a decisive Yes vote emerged.

Ms Mahon told The Irish Times that there had been two anti-abortion campaigners shouting at the crowd.

This “really upset” Ms Mahon and Minister Harris noticed she was crying. “Simon’s been getting so much horrible stuff said to him for months so that made me want to thank him for fighting back,” said Ms Mahon.

Minister Harris told her not to thank him but to “thank everyone in Ireland who voted Yes”.

Ms Mahon added: “He asked if it meant a lot to me and I said it really does. It was just so nice and I couldn’t thank him enough. He’s an absolute hero for Ireland.”

Ms Mahon is a 22-year-old student from Waterford. She is doing a Masters in speech and language therapy in the University of Limerick.

However, Ms Mahon is currently on placement in London and flew home on Friday morning for the referendum. She counts herself lucky that she was able to come home.

“An amazing person found me on Abroad for Yes. She couldn’t make it home to vote so instead she paid for me to get home to vote,” said Ms Mahon.

Ms Mahon said she has been campaigning to repeal the Eighth Amendment for years and that she was “so nervous and so worried” that it wouldn’t pass. When she met Simon Harris it hit her that “wow, we’d actually done it”.

A Yes result “means everything” to her “ and to all the women who voted Yes”.

“Every person in Ireland has a story. It’s their family, it’s their friends. Everyone has someone who has been affected by the Eighth Amendment. Now to have that right, that autonomy, to feel safe in my own country, I don’t have the words to explain how important that is to me.”

Ms Mahon also visited Savita Halappanavar’s mural this morning to lay flowers to honour her on this “amazing” day. She said she is “delighted” and is going to celebrate by “ordering a pizza and drinking a bottle of champagne, a lot of champagne” before she flies back to London to resume her studies.

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