Introducing exclusion or safe access zones outside clinics where abortions are held is a well-intentioned but misguided proposal.
Bradley Bytes – A Sort of Political Column with Dara Bradley
Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said he is “fully committed” to introducing legislation prohibiting the sort of demonstration that took place outside a Galway clinic last week.
The argument around these protesters isn’t about whether you agree with them – clearly, the results of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, show most right-thinking people don’t. The issue is whether we should curtail their freedom of expression, and right to protest. And if you’re a democrat, then the answer is ‘no’.
Now, you could argue that these protesters aren’t being very democratic, because they’re ignoring the will of the people in the recent referendum. But by that logic, pro-choice campaigners should have just shuffled off stage in 1983 when the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution was introduced, recognising the equal right to life of the pregnant woman and the unborn. Society changes; attitudes change. And the laws reflect that.
Those pro-life protesters last week might not be what you would call ‘compassionate’. They may not be very nice people. In fact, they’re probably obnoxious and self-righteous and thrive on judging people.
They’re the sort of people that if you got stuck sitting beside in a pub, you’d skull your pint and scarper.
The protesters, in a photograph that circulated online, seem like people on the wrong side of history. But they didn’t look like they were harassing anyone. They were just holding placards; peacefully making a stand, as is their right.
We may not agree with them, but can we not agree with their right to hold a different view?
Of course, there must be restrictions on freedom of speech, but in a democracy, we have a right to protest, and long may that continue. It wasn’t so long ago that ‘liberals’ like Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris were opposed to abortion. It is their right to change their minds. But allowing politicians – and their obliging media darlings – to decide what we can and cannot protest against is a dangerous, dangerous route to go down.
Most right-thinking people abhor what these protesters are doing – but don’t succumb to fascism by banning them. If protesters are harassing patients or doctors, laws already exist in relation to assault, or harassment, or incitement.
But let’s not give politicians the right to pick and choose what we are allowed to peacefully protest against, no matter how abhorrent you find protesters’ views.
Gardaí issue warning on ‘movie money’
Gardaí have warned of an increase in ‘novelty’ euro notes – which are almost identical to real currency – in circulation.
The notes are usually marked ‘movie money’ or ‘prop money’, but this can often go unnoticed by the person handling it. They do not have any security features.
Revenue Officers have seized notes in varying denominations representing a value of €430,895 in recent mail centre detections.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: “People need to be aware that such notes exist and at busy times, especially late at night, they need to exercise a little care and attention.
“These notes are easily identifiable if precautionary checks are made. Also people who try to tender such notes as real face prosecution, a possible prison sentence and a conviction, which is for life. Such convictions have serious ramifications if one wanted to travel, to work in certain sectors and it can affect their credit rating”.
“We advise businesses and members of the public who deal in cash to be aware that such notes are in circulation and take appropriate precautionary measures. Business owners should ensure staff members handling cash are alerted to watch out for these fraudulent notes.
“The use of fraudulent currency when trying to purchase goods or services is an offence under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 and carries a potential prison sentence of 10 years.
“These fraudulent notes should not be accepted as legal tender and any incidents of persons trying to pay with “prop money” should be reported to Gardaí immediately,” said Det Supt Cryan.
Fire at site of former Corrib Great Southern Hotel
Emergency services are at the scene of a large fire at the site of the former Corrib Great Southern Hotel which broke out in the early hours of this morning.
Four units of the Galway Fire and Rescue Service were called to the former hotel near GMIT at 5.45am. A unit from Athenry is also in attendance at the scene.
Fire fighters are maintaining a presence at the derelict hotel, which has been the scene of a number of arson attacks over the past number of years.
Three refused bail on violent disorder charges
Three men who were arrested this morning as part of a Garda investigation into violent disorder at a funeral in Mervue last year, have been denied bail by a District Court Judge.
Denis Hannafin, Curry; Robbie Hannafin, Corboy, Edgeworthstown and Tommy Hannafin, Dublin Road – all in Longford – were charged with violent disorder in connection with an incident which occurred outside Holy Family funeral home on in January 13 last year.
Detective Garda Ronan Leonard told the court this morning that CCTV footage showed a number of members of the Hannafin family outside the funeral home on January 13, 2019, at approximately 3.15pm, when a number of members of the McGinley family made their way towards them.
An altercation ensued, which resulted in one member of the McGinley family suffering a gunshot wound, while another received a stab wound to the back. A third man suffered acid wounds.
Gardaí explained that there is a feud going on between the two families, which began when juvenile members of the families got into a fight at a pool hall.
Detective Leonard voiced concerns that if the three accused were granted bail, they would commit further offences and intimidate members of the McGinley family.
Judge Seamus Hughes had remanded the three accused in custody to Harristown District Court next Friday, February 28.