Leo Varadkar acknowledges that the government is “running into real difficulties around restricting peaceful protest and restricting free speech” in regard to banning protests or outreaches at abortion centres.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that it was absolutely extraordinary that the Dáil was discussing how best to ban peaceful protests simply because abortion centres wished to maximise the number of babies being killed.

“The right to free speech and to peaceful protest are the cornerstones of democracy and it’s appalling to see so-called liberals like Louise O’Reilly of Sinn Féin seek to limit the right to people to reach out to women in crisis and offer them a better alternative than abortion,” she said. “The Taoiseach has now acknowledged that these are peaceful protests, so why are his government trying to censor its own citizens at the behest of the abortion industry?”