‘For Those Six Minutes, They Are My Witnesses’


Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone and Independent Senator Ronan Mullen at a meeting of the Joint Committee on the 8th amendment of the constitution yesterday


Readers may recall there was a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

At it, representatives of the World Health Organisation Dr Abigail Aiken, Assistant Professor at LBJ School of Public Affairs, Texas; and Dr Ronald Johnson and Dr Bela Ganatra, from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research in the World Health Organisation, fielded questions from members of the committee (top).

Further to this…

Ellen Coyne, in The Times Ireland edition, reports:

Rónán Mullen, a senator opposed to abortion, had a row with the chairwoman of the Oireachtas committee examining the issue of the Eighth Amendment yesterday.

Mr Mullen argued with Catherine Noone, the Fine Gael senator, after a terse session in the committee.

A Times journalist and several TDs who were in the ladies lavatory outside the committee room at the time were able to overhear the entire exchange in the corridor. Mr Mullen was upset after he was criticised for the way in which he questioned two representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) during his six minutes of questioning.

The independent senator had claimed that the WHO was wrong for supporting access to contraception after a termination, but not mandatory ultrasound scans for women seeking a termination. Ms Noone interrupted Mr Mullen while he was questioning Ronald Johnson and Bela Ganatra, the health experts, and asked him to give them a chance to answer.

For those six minutes, they are my witnesses,” Mr Mullen yelled at Ms Noone afterwards.


Read in full: Heated exchange between Rónán Mullen and Catherine Noone overheard in Oirechtas ladies’ lavatory (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)

Yesterday: ‘Are These Ill-Informed Myths?’

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48 thoughts on “‘For Those Six Minutes, They Are My Witnesses’

  1. Daisy Chainsaw

    Angry, petulant, woman hating manbaby. He hates that these experts can disprove every bit of bolloxology he’s ever spouted in relation to abortion over the years. He should go back to doing secretarial work for clergy.

    1. curmudgeon

      Eh yes there is it’s called citing your source, and some people actually pay for the content that those sources provide, so they can continue on and not go bankrupt and/or plaster their site with ads and clickbait.

  2. Iwerzon

    His constituency – Trinity College I think – should oust him at the first opportunity. He has form of being a Richard, especially with women.

    1. Malta

      It’s UCD, and unfortunately the UCD voters seem very fond of him. From what I saw at the last Seanad election, a sitting senator failing to get re-elected is very unusual.

      I suspect (hope) his tenure is due to younger voters not really bothering with Seanad elections

  3. TheRealJane

    The panic is setting in, I see. Poor old not hysterical men who have built a career on controlling women’s fertility seeing all their efforts fall apart.

    Ah well.

  4. MoyestWithExcitement

    A social conservative/right winger throws a temper tantrum and thinks people are his property when he has responsibility to talk to them? This is shocking!

  5. Liggy

    There used to be an anti-choicer who stood outside the Bank across the road from Trinity. Weekend after weekend he stood there in front of a giant picture of a slaughtered animal with the words which intimated that it was the aftermath of a termination. The pic was as garish as you would expect. Women who had stillbirths, women who had miscarriages, women who had terminations and small children passed it daily.

    From the age of 15, my cousin always brought his little sister (7 years younger) to see the lights on Grafton Street before Xmas. When the two were passing the bank, this man tried to put one of a leaflet with this illustration on it into the girl’s hand.

    Her brother batted the leaflet out of her way. The man walked around the front of them again and tried to hand it to her again. Her brother said ‘no thank you’ and attempted to walk around him. The man tried to get in front of them again. A comment was made to the effect this man was trying to save the girl from abortion even if her “boyfriend” was not interested.

    My cousin asked what an abortion was. She was 10 and this was the first time she had heard the word.

    That girl marched for choice on the 30th. More people will march the more extreme the behaviour of the anti-choicers become. More and more and more and more…..

  6. Mysterybeat

    Regardless of one’s opinion of the issues before the committee, Mullen has a long history of barracking people and generally being an a55-hat.

  7. Nigel

    How the feck can he link access to contraception with mandatory scans don’t answer rhetorical question because he’s Ronan feckin Mullen.

  8. DavidT

    Should Mullen’s complaint about the ‘balance’ of representatives be addressed?

    Or is it like the so-called climate change ‘debate’, where there might be one scientist somewhere who disagrees with any given fifty?

    1. ReproBertie

      No. Frankly this is a load of can kicking ballsology at the tax payers expense.

      The citizens assembly heard experts and representatives from both sides and came up with what they believed was the best next step. Following on from their advice the Oireachtas Committee are hearing from the same experts and representatives in some ridiculous, self important, “sure you can’t trust the public” move to decide what the best next step is.

      It’s all a big dog and pony show to delay doing anything for as long as feasibly possible. The result will be a halfway attempt at a referendum because FG have already decided that the public wouldn’t support the recommendations of the citizens assembly.

      1. David

        Well put RB. My thoughts, organised. 8))

        The CA is a great idea and, as far as I can see, way more representative than any committee of self-promoters ever could be.

      2. newsjustin

        I agree with you on the delay/can-kicking Repro. It’s like a game of pass the parcel – with the parcel containing anthrax, spiders, toe-nail clippings and farts.

        But, the oireachtas has to pass a referendum bill. So they need to work out something that they think will pass through the oireachtas. Never mind what the electorate will or won’t go for.

          1. newsjustin

            That’s what it was billed as alright.

            But the oireachtas must still come up with the referendum they’re gonna put to the people.

            Even if they took the CA recommendations and ran with them, they’ed still need to come up with referendum wording and terms of supporting legislation.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            So come up with wording in accordance with the CA’s recommendations? They’re a cross section of society. If they’re saying full abortion rights, that’s probably what Irish society wants.

          3. ReproBertie

            Medical issues should not be dealt with by the constitution. Amend the 8th to allow the Oireachtas to legislate. Details of the actual legislation can be worked out later. That takes the nitty gritty out of the referendum wording.

            That aside, having the transcripts and advice of the Citizen’s Assembly should be more than enough. There is no need for this Oireachtas Committee to question the representatives and experts all over again.

          4. Sheik Yahbouti

            No. Completely excise the Eighth amendment from the Constitution, in light of the fact that it should not have been there in the first place. Then FORCE our so called ‘Legislators’ to formulate and pass necessary legislation. In the case of the Government parties, if they could be persuaded that a “revenue stream” might be generated….. – problem solved ;-(

          5. newsjustin

            Yeah, It’s overkill alright. But I wouldn’t underestimate the amount of work involved in just putting a referendum wording together. But even so, whether everyone likes it or not, many politicians are allergic to putting the CA recommendations, in all their glory, to the people….so there’s legislation, etc to come up with too.

          6. ReproBertie

            The referendum wording is simple as it has only to say that the Oireachtas will have the power to enact legislation on abortion.

            Politicians are supposed to act on the will of the people not tell the people what’s best for them.

          7. Cian

            The referendum wording is simple as it has only to say that the Oireachtas will have the power to enact legislation on abortion and must do so.

            Otherwise the 8th could be repealed, but the existing legislation banning abortion left in place – an Irish solution to an Irish problem.

    2. MoyestWithExcitement

      “Should Mullen’s complaint about the ‘balance’ of representatives be addressed?”

      Say there were people who wanted to take murder off the statutes or thought heroin dealers should get a stall to sell their wares in every secondary school. Should there even be a debate? Should there be balance just because people happen to have twisted opinions? I’d say no, anyway.

      1. David

        >>So come up with wording in accordance with the CA’s recommendations? They’re a cross section of society. If they’re saying full abortion rights, that’s probably what Irish society wants.

        But Leo’s already decided their recommendations are not in accordance with the electorate.

        My view is that they are.

        Admittedly just a straw poll amongst neighbours and friends, but I’d say they’re pretty on the mark.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Of course they are, but right wingers are used to controlling the narrative so they resort to simply denying reality when it doesn’t validate their weird views.

        2. newsjustin

          The Irish Times poll seemed to suggest that the electorate wouldn’t go for the CA’s suggestions.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            If you can fathom how Fox News doesn’t produce the most honest content, you might be able to get your head around newspapers doing it as well. They also said most people are centrist and that the general population should be nice to politicians.

    1. ReproBertie

      You’re assuming the march and the going to see the Christmas lights were within a few months of each other.

      You know what they say about assuming.

      1. Liggy

        Hello @ReproBertie

        May I please re-use the wonderful phrase “a load of can kicking bolloxology” for a future post with full accreditation please?

        1. ReproBertie

          Work away. They’re just words and I doubt I invented them. I mean, I’m no Humpty Trumpty, inventor of “fake”.

    2. Liggy

      She’s nearly 30 now. Hope that quells your outrage a tad.

      Good for you that you are completely comfortable with a strange man continually attempting to accost a 10 year old on the street for no good reason but feel compelled to complain (after your mistaken presumption) that she was marching for her bodily autonomy at the same age.

  9. Gringo

    The most interesting part of this story concerns the IT journalist and the posse of TDs in the jacks.

Comments are closed.

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