School chair resigns in anti-abortion row

Eddie Shaw apologises to parents for distress caused over leaflets for rally

Eddie Shaw, photographed in 2004. He resigned as chairman of the board of the Harold School after leaflets promoting a vigil for life in Dublin were given to children

The chairman of the Harold School board in Dublin's Glasthule Eddie Shaw resigned last night.

It followed controversy over his arranging for leaflets to be distributed to children at the school in advance of the ProLife Campaign’s `Vigil for Life’ in the Dublin on June 8th.

In a statement last night he said that he had, “after careful consultation and reflection, submitted my resignation as Chairman of the Board of the Harold School with immediate effect.”

He continued “I want to repeat my unreserved apology to teachers and parents for the deep distress and understandable upset caused by my action. The responsibility for this action was mine, and mine alone.”


Recalling that his own children attended the Harold School he said: “I have been involved in the school in a personal and voluntary capacity for the last 30 years and have always had the best interests of the school at heart.”

He concluded by wishing “the board, principal, parents, teachers and all involved in the continuing education and development of the children in this great school every possible success and fulfillment.”

At a stormy meeting last Thursday, Mr Shaw, who succeeded Senator Rónán Mullen as Cardinal Connell's spokesman in September 2002 and who is head of public relations at Carr Communications, apologised to the school parents' association.

Minutes of the meeting seen by The Irish Times state that “on Friday the 7th of June, a notice for a pro-life vigil was put in the bags of three classes. The leaflets were intended for every bag in the school but some teachers either chose not to put them in and others forgot.

“The leaflet highlighted a vigil taking place last weekend for the Pro-Life Campaign against the upcoming legislation on abortion. The parent body were outraged that the children were being used as vehicle to promote a controversial campaign,” it said.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times