Louth Fianna Fáil councillor Emma Coffey
Local Fianna Fail Councillor Emma Coffey has spoken out against anti-abortion protestors who are gathering outside Irish clinics and GP offices where abortion services are being carried out and has called for the Government to urgently introduce exclusion zones.
The local councillors comments came following the news that a group of six anti-abortion individuals held a protest outside Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda last Monday, January 7. The protestors held signs relaying messages such as: “Warning: Killing in Progress” and “Let him (or her) be born”.
The Government has plans to introduce exclusion (or buffer) zones outside clinics that are providing abortion services but there is still no date for when these measures will be introduced.
Speaking about the protestors Cllr Coffey said: “They call them peaceful protests but I think it's morally wrong for people to be holding up placards like that when people are taking children in.
“It causes added stress not only to the women in crisis situations but also for other patients, the staff and people passing by. People in rural areas might feel intimidated or even discouraged from going to their GP or clinic if faced with protestors. It could make women feel like it would be easier to hop on a plane to the UK [where exclusion zones have already been introduced].
"The public voted overwhelmingly for abortion services to be introduced in Ireland in the referendum. These people need to let patients at these healthcare facilities go about their business."
Cllr Coffey added:
“These protestors are trying to make life difficult for people. It's not acceptable. The exclusion zone legislation needs to come in sooner rather than later.
“However I can't see these zones being introduced before the end of the year, logistically speaking with local elections and Brexit this year.”