Gardaí called to demo at bridge
ENNISCORTHY GARDAI RECEIVE A NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS
ENNISCORTHY Gardaí were called to the scene of a Pro-Life demonstration at the foot of the Patriot Flag in Abbey Square on Thursday, having received a number of complaints over the imagery used. Protesters held aloft an extremely gory image of a ‘dead 10-week fetus moments after abortion’ so that it could be seen by all traffic entering into Enniscorthy via the new bridge.
The shocking image upset quite a few members of the public and they contacted Enniscorthy Garda Station to complain. Gardaí were quick to arrive at the scene and talked to the campaigners, however, a garda spokesman said that there was very little they could do bar ask them to move on, as no laws were technically being broken.
This is the second time in recent weeks that a protest of this nature has taken place in the town and gardaí have received numerous complaints, particularly from the parents of young children who were exposed to these images in broad daylight walking down the street. This type of campaigning has drawn criticism both from ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ voters, many of whom feel it’s going a step too far.
WHILE the topic of the eighth amendment and the upcoming referendum is a highly emotive one, people from both sides of the divide were critical of campaigners who arrived in Enniscorthy last Thursday evening, carrying large banner’s depicting graphic images of an ‘aborted foetus’.
The small group gathered just in front of the Patriot’s Flag in Market Square and held the banner aloft towards passing traffic coming into the town over the new bridge.
The distressing image certainly caused controversy and parents walking with their young children in the sunshine could be visibly seen covering their little ones’ eyes as they walked past.
Enniscorthy Garda Station also received a number of calls in relation to the banner, with people insisting they do something to stop the demonstration.
Sgt Colum Matthews at Enniscorthy Garda Station, however, says that they are in a difficult position in relation to these matters, as officially, no laws are being broken. He said that this is the second time in recent weeks that this issue has arisen and the first time around, it appeared that the possessors of the images were not local.
‘It seems that these people were expecting confrontation as a few of them were wearing body cams,’ he said.
‘We have been asked on a few occasions what our powers are to move these people on. We do have powers under the Public Order Act to stop them distributing offensive imagery, but they are not doing that they are just displaying it.
‘We had a lot of calls into the station the last time around, but on the advice of the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) we can only really ask them to move on. They would have to cause a breach of the peace in order for us to act.’
Gardaí arrived in Abbey Square and talked to the campaigners for some time before they eventually moved away from the scene, having been there for just over an hour.
Pictured are Enniscorthy gardai speaking to members of a Pro Life group, following complaints about the graphic imagery of the poster involved. The image has been blurred for publication.