C: Oireachtas TV (Oireachtas.ie)

Garda chief confirms no arrests made for pro-life vigils

Deputy Garda Commissioner, Anne Marie McMahon, has told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health, that no person has ever been arrested for protesting abortion centres in Ireland.

The Garda chief was asked by Sinn Féin’s Martin Conway if arrests had been made ‘associated with any of these protests’.  Deputy Commissioner McMahon replied: ‘to the best of my knowledge, no’.

Critics of proposed legislation which seeks to make it a criminal offence to pray or hold a sign saying ‘we can help’ outside an abortion centre, have long pointed to Garda evidence confirming that those holding vigil are not harassing or intimidating anyone.

Investigative work by Gary Kavanagh on Gript has repeatedly shown that claims made by supporters of ‘censorship zone’ laws have been entirely without merit.

It was claimed by Together for Safety that women and staff were being harassed at maternity hospitals, but an investigation showed no record of any complaints at any of the hospitals who responded.

Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, has previously stated that there was ‘no evidence to suggest there is threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour directed towards persons utilising [abortion] services’.

Doctors for Life have accused politicians of seeking to bully pro-life prayer activists and of acting in bad faith on the issue of offering women another option rather than abortion.

The Life Institute has said that a “great deal of spite and malice is behind the push to criminalise peaceful activism” – and warned that the law would criminalise prayer and life-supporting outreaches, and “would do so despite an absolute lack of evidence that such restrictions were necessary.”

 

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