From top: Minister for Health Simon Harris speaking to reporters yesterday; Pro-life protesters outside the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin on January 1

Yesterday, it was suggested by Minister for Health Simon Harris that local authorities could be given powers to impose exclusion zones outside maternity hospitals preventing pro-life protests.

Further to this…

As someone who has carried a tiny white coffin out of Holles Street, I can attest to the anguish caused by the wilful insensitivity of the protesters who assembled there on New Year’s Day.

The lack of Christian kindness and basic human empathy displayed by these people reveals the truth of their oft-cited claims to “Love Both”.

While there is a right to peaceful protest, there is also a right to access legal healthcare without intimidation, and a right to provide care without being subjected to harassment.

Our Government must now act and legislate for safe access zones to protect medical staff and their patients from such interference.

Can we truly consider ourselves a secular democracy while the Vatican has a say in the ownership of our National Maternity Hospital and religious fundamentalists dominate the footpaths outside?

Bernie Linnane,
County Leitrim

Harris Mulls Abortion Safety Zones (Irish Examiner)

Abortion: Minister warns of exclusion zones after hospital protests (Irish Times)


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58 thoughts on “Pray Away

    1. Qwerty123

      You do realise that there are some women that went into Holles street that day heard news of miscarriages etc?

      You do realise that they might not want to see white coffins paraded in front of them when they leave the hospital? They might not want to fight their way through a crowd on the footpath outside the hospital main entrance?

      These people are not christian. Misguided fools.

      1. millie vanilly strikes again

        Don’t bother. It’s most likely Zuppy out for a troll. He gets triggered by this and Dan’s articles, and especially anything to do with climate change.

    2. ian-oh

      Praying is such an outrage.

      Christians are so anti-christian.

      Murder is legal healthcare.

      Some thoughts.

      Praying isn’t an outrage.

      Those Christians don’t appear to be acting very Christian.

      Report suspected serious crimes to AGS.

        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          It’s not praying, its preying. It’s harassment of women, some vulnerable, some ill, some grieving… but you evil hypocrites don’t care.

    1. millie vanilly strikes again

      Irish pearl-clutchers triggered by the fact that a democratic mandate was upheld and that their disgusting attacks on women outside hospitals are showing them up for the nasty ghouls that they are.

    2. Rob_G

      If the prayers work, I’m sure that they will continue to do so a couple of hundred metres away where they will be less likely to inconvenience expectant mothers and their families.

      1. millie vanilly strikes again

        Is that not why we have a church in every town in Ireland? For all the praying and that.

        Of course, shouty abusive prayers should be reserved only for women and staff of maternity hospitals, right?

  1. newsjustin

    That letter from the Times is pretty balanced until the closing lines. In no sense do “religious fundamentalists dominate the footpaths outside” the NMH. There are occasional peaceful protests in the public space outside the hospital, protesting the deliberate ending of human life within.

    Suggesting that drawing attention to, and opposing, the hospital carrying out abortions is generally upsetting to woman who have had miscarriages, yet actually aborting healthy babies in that same hospital is somehow not troublesome to woman who have suffered miscarriage is a great example of the type of cognitive dissonance cultivated by pro-choice campaigners.

    1. Iggy

      Of course there are religious fundamentalists at those protests. They’re the main body of those groups. you must never have been to one. And do not presume to know what women find troublesome or not troublesome. You are not them. You do not know what they are going through.

      1. newsjustin

        I font presume to know what individual woman find troublesome or not. I am explicitly calling out the hypocrisy who do claim to know just that.

        And I didn’t say religious people (fundamentalists even) aren’t part of these protests. I’m saying it’s nonsense to suggest these protests were “dominating the footpaths outside” the NMH. They are not.

        1. Iggy

          They are if they’re using a microphone, which the image above clearly shows to be the case. They’re (almost) outside a hospital, for pity’s sake. It’s not drawing attention, it is bullying.

          1. millie vanilly strikes again

            I don’t think that’s for you to say, newsjustin.

            Can you reasonably say that you have been harassed or attacked as you entered a hospital for accessing health care that you as a citizen of this country are entitled to? Can you say that it wouldn’t make you feel anxious or stressed, attacked or victimised?

            I don’t disagree with the right to protest, but I do have a problem with women being verbally abused for entering a maternity hospital.

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      How can you be so certain of the health of a 10 week gestational foetus? A foetus at that point is not a baby, not even close.

        1. newsjustin

          Ditto all medics dealing with expectant mothers. In all my visits to maternity hospitals for my children I never once heard the word foetus used.

          1. Daisy Chainsaw

            Hospitals don’t use technical and medical terms all the time when dealing with patients. Ever heard of getting an injection in your gluteous maximus? No, you get it in your hip… and it’s not even your hip, it’s your backside.

  2. Spaghetti Hoop

    There’s a right to protest, and there’s a right to access and practice healthcare without intimidation. An exclusion zone around point of services (hospital) should be introduced without delay to ensure both sets of rights can co-exist. Harris has been sitting on this issue since June 2018, explaining that ‘it’s complicated’. All his faux outrage is a bit rich at this stage, and now he’s using the tactic of ‘warning’ protestors of the exclusion zones that he thus far has said is ‘complicated’. Most countries in Europe and states in the US already have this exclusion zone in place – I don’t see anything ‘complicated’ about it.

    1. retroboy

      As per Bill Hicks (Who I know wasn’t particularly perfect.)

      Why don’t these pro-life/pro child people spend their energy properly and adopt/foster a child who is here and needs actual love, as opposed to the hate that these “people” profess to be love.

      Ciarán Cahill

      1. garrett

        Why don’t childless couples spend their energy properly and adopt/foster a child who is here and needs actual love, instead of paying poor people abroad to be surrogates.
        And why is this practice not illegal?

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      Let’s stand at the entrances to catholic churches telling the people going in there that they’re pro rape and paedophilia, or outside convents telling the nuns they’re slavers and baby traffickers.

      They’ll be braying for exclusion zones then.

      1. V


        Or their own gaffs
        When the NMH / Holles Street shifts itself out to Vincent’s I wonder how lively their praying on patients will be then

        see what I did there (◠‿◕)

      2. newsjustin

        By all means Daisy. Please do. You certainly have my full support to protest peacefully in the public realm outside any building in Ireland. More power to you.

  3. garrett

    This is another of Harris’s manufactured issues that he will condemn and do nothing to resolve.
    It was obvious this would happen yet the abortion legislation was passed into law without any parallel legislation to restrict protests.

    FYI I abhor these protests but will vote against any constitutional change to restrict protests.

  4. V

    Ah would ye shurrup

    What goes on inside those doors is no one’s business
    Except the patients, their nearest and dearest and their medical teams

    Learn to eff off and leave people get on with their lives
    There is nothing illegal going on for anyone to be bothered about

    Keep yere prayers with all yere files and yere money : To yerselves

    I’ve a good mind to go down and do a Pope Francis style slap across yere clasped hands

    1. NN

      If you’re this triggered by people praying you should probably take a good look at yourself.

      Maybe do an aul Novena or something.

      1. V

        You know I have a special toy that does exactly that
        Gets me all Triggered like
        It even pauses and allows the exact arrival of the trigger point suspend gently – lengthening the climax
        It’s absolutely heavenly
        Like angels sing with Oh My Holy God

        I lose all control
        Speak in tongues n’ everything

        So yeah. I’m all about getting Triggered

        Not sure about doing it outside on the street tho’
        People would be passing like
        Definitely not around there on Parnell Sq anyway
        ( ˶ ❛ ꁞ ❛ ˶ )

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