Taoiseach says he has been branded a ‘murderer’ for his stance

Enda Kenny tells Dáil he is Taoiseach who happens to be Catholic rather than Catholic Taoiseach

Enda Kenny: “I’m getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood, telephone calls all over the system and it’s not confined to me.”

Enda Kenny: “I’m getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood, telephone calls all over the system and it’s not confined to me.”

 


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he has received letters written in blood which claim that he is a murderer because of the forthcoming abortion legislation.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil he acknowledged the issue was a sensitive one. But he said: “I am now being branded by personnel around the country as being a murderer. I’m going to have on my soul the death of 20 million babies. I’m getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood, telephone calls all over the system and it’s not confined to me.”

Rejecting criticism of the Government’s Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, which gives effect to the X-case Supreme Court judgment issued 21 years ago, he told the Dáil he was a Taoiseach who happened to be a Catholic but not a Catholic Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny said his job as Taoiseach “is not confined to any sector of the people, it is for all the people. Therefore I am proud to stand here as a public representative, who happens to be a Catholic but not a Catholic Taoiseach. I am a Taoiseach for all the people and that’s my job,” he said to applause from the Government benches and Sinn Féin.


Free vote
Mr Kenny was responding to Independent TD Mattie McGrath who called on the Taoiseach to reverse his decision not to allow Fine Gael TDs have a free vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. Mr McGrath pointed to the 40,000 people who demonstrated last weekend against abortion and the comments of the Catholic hierarchy, who said people were being misled about the true nature of the legislation.

The Tipperary South TD asked: “Do you understand Taoiseach why a growing number of people simply do not believe your repeated claim that this Bill is pro-life? Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Mr Kenny was speaking in the Dáil after a Cabinet meeting about the legislation, which was published last night.

Mr McGrath saidthat despite all Mr Kenny’s assurances “we can have no confidence that the State will act in the best interests of the unborn child, especially when the State has a litany of historical failures regarding unborn children”.

Referendum
Repeating his call for a free vote, Mr McGrath asked the Taoiseach for a referendum.

Mr Kenny said the Government took its legal advice from the Attorney General. He reminded him that the electorate had voted twice on the issue and “they confirmed and re-endorsed the constitutional rights of women in this country to have a termination of a pregnancy in specific circumstances, where there is a threat to the life of the mother”.