The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has issued an information sheet to GP clinics and hospitals on preparing for ‘unlawful infringements’ by pro-life people on women accessing abortion.
Mr Harris listed laws that already protect people from “behaviour that impedes access to services or causes distress.”
However, he also insisted that Gardaí put in place “local area safety plans” in case of unlawful disruptions.
Eilis Mulroy of the Pro-Life Campaign said the Minister’s correspondence makes clear he views peaceful pro-life witnessing as a significant threat to public order.
She also called the provision of ‘safety plans’ an ‘alarming development’:
“This kind of language is more appropriate to dealing with impending riots or looting or other forms of large-scale public disturbances.
“It is clear then that the Minister is perpetuating, however indirectly, a hostile perception of pro life citizens based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.
“He is generating worrying and deeply unfair levels of personal mischaracterisation that needs to be immediately addressed.
“We are calling on Minister Harris to reconsider his inflammatory language and to become aware that this can only lead to the stoking of public resentment against pro life people that is absolutely unwarranted,” concluded Ms Mulroy.