Former Sinn Féin MLA believes party will pay price for abortion stance

Francie Brolly believed SF’s position shows disconnect between urban and rural voters

Francie Brolly: “Certainly Dublin will decide which way the repeal vote goes, but I have no doubt in the more rural counties like Donegal that they would not vote for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed”

Francie Brolly: “Certainly Dublin will decide which way the repeal vote goes, but I have no doubt in the more rural counties like Donegal that they would not vote for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed”

 

A former Sinn Féin MLA has said he believes the party will pay an electoral price for its stance on abortion.

Lifelong republican Francie Brolly, who was Sinn Féin MLA for East Derry from 2003 to 2010, has resigned from the party in protest.

“I can’t accept that my conscience can be subjected to public policy,” he said. “My conscience is mine. It’s basically the only important thing I own in the world, and I just can’t accept that Mary Lou McDonald can tell me ‘no, I’m very sorry, we have a policy on this and your conscience is irrelevant’.”

Sinn Féin changed its policy on abortion at its ardfheis in November 2017, voting to support access to abortions when a woman’s life is at risk. Mr Brolly is opposed to abortion under any circumstance.

He said he believed Sinn Féin’s change in position demonstrated a disconnect between urban and rural voters.

“We’re aware here in the North and all over Ireland that there are basically almost two states down there now, there’s Dublin and the rest, or possibly the cities and the rest.

“Certainly Dublin will decide which way the repeal vote goes, but I have no doubt in the more rural counties like Donegal that they would not vote for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed. I have absolutely no doubt, and plenty of proof that people are very uneasy.”