Any abortion laws will be balanced: Coveney
SIMON Coveney yesterday told undecided voters ahead of next week’s referendum: ‘Nobody is pro-abortion.’
The Tánaiste was speaking in the Dáil as he tried to reassure ‘don’t knows’ that any legislation on the termination of pregnancies would ‘strike the right balance’.
His intervention came as pro-life campaigners placed a giant No sign on Sligo’s Ben Bulben yesterday.
Yesterday a poll showed the No side on 32% and the Yes side on 44%. Some 17% are undecided.
Mr Coveney told the Dáil he wanted to reassure ‘the many people who are still undecided’, those who recognise change is needed but who are a little concerned that it may go too far.
He said if the result of the May 25 vote was Yes then there were ‘many members of the Oireachtas who will ensure the change we will make in legislation will respect and protect women’.
Mr Coveney said: ‘We will also recognise the responsibility of the State towards providing protections for the unborn. What the Government is proposing to do will strike the right balance if we are given the opportunity.’
But he further declared: ‘We will not be able to do anything if the people vote No because it will mean a freezing of time.
‘We will be stuck with all of the dilemmas we face today and turn a blind eye to many of them if we do not choose to change.’
An Ipsos/mrbi poll for the Irish Times yesterday showed 44% of adults intend to vote Yes in the referendum; 32% No; and 17% are undecided; and 7% will not vote or say how they will cast their ballot. When the undecided, not telling and not voting are excluded, there is a 58% Yes score to 42% for No.
Yesterday a giant No sign installed by pro-life campaigners on Sligo’s iconic Ben Bulben mountain sparked controversy.
A team of 20 started forming the two-dimensional sign using white plastic sheeting on the northside of the mountain at 4am yesterday. One pro-life campaigner who helped erect the 100-metre lettering claimed the group did it as ‘a cry from the mountain to save Ireland’s babies’.
It sparked an angry reaction on social media with many accusing the campaigners of vandalism.
But Tommy Banks of the Sligo for Life No campaign insisted he’d obtained permission from the relevant landowners.
He also told Ocean FM: ‘There are several teenage young men here helping out – men of all ages. And there are women here as well down getting tea and sandwiches ready. It is a cry from the mountain to save Ireland’s babies.’
Users on social media accused campaigners of ‘defacing’ the mountain’.
Sligo County Council said: ‘As the land where the lettering was placed is commonage, Sligo County Council has no role in this matter.’
But Fiona Candon of Sligo Chamber of Commerce said: ‘It is terrible that our beautiful iconic Ben Bulben is being shown in such a light today.’
‘Protection for the unborn too’
Just say No: The sign on Ben Bulben in Sligo yesterday
Tánaiste: Simon Coveney