Family Planning Clinic says Together for Safety claim untrue

Staff at a family planning clinic in Limerick have denied a claim, made by a spokesperson for the Together for Safety lobby group, that pro-life protesters tried to gain access to the clinic. The claim was originally reported in a recent article in the Limerick Post.

The Limerick Post reported that Together for Safety co-convener Yvie Murphy had told them that members of pro-life groups have been reported trying to gain access to a family planning clinic in Limerick. According to the Limerick Post Murphy added “but they didn’t get far.”

Staff at the clinic told Gript that, whilst they didn’t want to comment on the work of the clinic generally as it was a sensitive area and they felt doing so might compromise their ability to treat the women who access their services, they were unaware of any incident of pro-life protesters attempting to gain access to the clinic.

One staff member, who had been working in the clinic for many years, told Gript “I don’t think that did happen, in my time here I’ve never known that.”

Gript called Murphy prior to publication of this story, informing her that her claim had been denied by staff at the clinic and asking if she had any comment to make or explanation to offer as to why her claim may have been denied. Murphy said she had no comment to make.

This is the second claim by Together for Safety in recent months to have its accuracy questioned, with a recent Gript investigation indicating that a previous claim, which alleged that pro-life protesters were routinely intimidating staff and patients outside maternity hospitals, was untrue.

The Limerick Post article which contained Murphy’s claim about the clinic also highlighted a recent claim by Together for Safety that pro-life protesters had been leaked confidential patient information about women undergoing abortions at Limerick University Maternity Hospital and were deliberately organising protests outside the hospital at the exact time abortions were taking place. That claim, despite the total lack of publicly available evidence to support it, was repeated by multiple Senators during a recent Seanad debate and has also been discussed by Deputy Ivana Bacik in the Dail.

The Irish Independent recently published a story which referenced this claim, but they later had to heavily amend the story, after Gript revealed journalist Ellen Coyne had not accurately quoted the source she used for the article. Senator Rónán Mullen alleged that Coyne had “invented remarks,” saying “if the shoe was on the other foot and this was a journalist with pro-life sympathies misrepresenting a situation such as this, he or she would be back making coffee and photocopying for a considerable period of time before being allowed to return to the newsroom.”

Limerick University Maternity Hospital has refused to comment on the situation.

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