“The release of the HSE’s list of incidences further confirms that there is no evidence of any intimidatory protests”, Eilís Mulroy
A list of pro-life ‘protests’ compiled by the HSE was revealed to Deputy Michael Collins in reply to a parliamentary question of 24 January. Whilst acknowledging it ‘should not be taken as exhaustive’, the HSE provided a list of just 21 events recorded since January 2019 as part of its ‘media search’. These incidents were referenced at the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee meeting of 18th January to support the case for introducing exclusion zone legislation. Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said:
“We already knew that exclusion zones which discriminate against pro-life citizens were being formulated on the hoof and without a solid evidence base. But the release of the HSE’s slapdash list further confirms that there is no evidence of any intimidatory protests.
“The list is remarkably light on details; in some cases the location is not even known, and there is no evidence of the specific date or numbers involved in any such protests. Of course, there is no evidence of harassment, blocking of entrances, or abuse, which are already crimes. The lack of contextualisaton means that one or two individuals silently praying could be construed as a ‘protest’ under the ambiguous criteria of this list. Such a careless compilation of data to underpin a drastic policy measure is inadequate.
“It is frankly bizarre that HSE staff are spending their time trawling the internet to find examples of pro-life citizens exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly. HSE resources should be directed towards dealing with the chronic problems which that entity faces on a daily basis.”