Minister For Health Simon Harris
The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has confirmed to Oireachtas members that his department has issued an information sheet to health service providers which outlines to them the “protections available under existing laws,” with the Minister also encouraging them to contact the Gardai where they experience “behaviour that impedes access to services or causes distress.”
Commenting on the latest developments, Eilís Mulroy of the Pro Life Campaign said that the tone and content of the Minister’s correspondence makes it emphatically clear that pro life citizens who wish to engage in peaceful protest and offer life affirming alternatives, remain in the Minister’s view, a significant threat to public order, despite no evidence to support this:
“Minister Harris has also informed Oireachtas members that An Garda Commissioner has issued a notification to all Chief Superintendents and Superintendents to ask them to “make themselves aware of all termination of pregnancy service providers in their areas, and to meet, if required, with service providers.
“However, it is the Minister’s insistence that Gardaí put “local area safety plans in place should they be needed” that is particularly alarming.
“This kind of language is more appropriate to dealing with impending riots or looting or other forms of large-scale public disturbances.
“It is clear then that the Minister is perpetuating, however indirectly, a hostile perception of pro life citizens based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.
“He is generating worrying and deeply unfair levels of personal mischaracterisation that needs to be immediately addressed.
“We are calling on Minister Harris to reconsider his inflammatory language and to become aware that this can only lead to the stoking of public resentment against pro life people that is absolutely unwarranted,” concluded Ms Mulroy.