Sen­a­tor de­fends ‘ageist’ abor­tion com­ment

Irish Independent - - News / Easter Commemorat­ion - Ryan Nu­gent

SEN­A­TOR Cather­ine Noone has in­sisted she is not ageist af­ter crit­i­cism of a tweet on the abor­tion de­bate which de­scribed a Mayo priest as an “oc­to­ge­nar­ian”.

Ms Noone, who is prore­peal, was un­happy that abor­tion was brought up dur­ing Easter Mass and said there was a time and place for such dis­cus­sion.

Her tweet – which has since been deleted – said: “Easter Mass in Knock Basil­ica this af­ter­noon with my par­ents – an oc­to­ge­nar­ian priest took at least three op­por­tu­ni­ties to preach to us about abor­tion – it’s no won­der peo­ple feel dis­il­lu­sioned with the Catholic Church.”

This led to crit­i­cism from the Save The 8th cam­paign, which had called for Ms Noone to with­draw the com­ment, claim­ing it was “em­bar­rass­ing and wrong”.


“Yes cam­paign­ers are al­lowed to en­gage in open ageism against our se­nior cit­i­zens,” a spokesman said.

“This is a run­ning theme in the Yes cam­paign – that old peo­ple, who are more likely in their view to vote No, are con­sis­tently den­i­grated,” he added.

Speak­ing to the Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent last night, Ms Noone said: “When I do go to Mass, I don’t ex­pect to be con­fronted with the is­sue.

“Maybe that’s naivety on my part,” she added.

How­ever, Ms Noone said she had been at­tempt­ing to “paint a pic­ture” by us­ing the term “oc­to­ge­nar­ian” in her tweet.

“I’m not ageist, any­one who knows me knows I’m not ageist,” she said.

The Sen­a­tor – who chaired the abor­tion com­mit­tee be­fore Christ­mas – added that she had been sub­ject to crit­i­cism and abuse on­line for al­most ev­ery­thing she had said over the past eight months.

She said the tweet was deleted be­cause she did not need the neg­a­tiv­ity that came in re­sponse to it.

The Dublin Sen­a­tor said she “should have known bet­ter” than to have sent the tweet given the re­ac­tion she has been re­ceiv­ing to her on­line posts.

Ms Noone said neg­a­tive re­sponses to her tweets had be­come a fea­ture of her daily life.

“Cer­tain peo­ple are try­ing to take any­thing I say and con­strue it in a cer­tain way,” she added.

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