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Harry Barrett only councillor to oppose abortion motion

Harry Barrett only councillor to oppose abortion motion

Anton McNulty


Mayo County Council and Castlebar Town Council have both passed motions in the last week opposing any form of legalisation for abortion under any circumstances with only Castlebar Town councillor Harry Barrett voicing his opposition.
The motion was put forward on both occasions by Independent councillor Frank Durcan at the monthly meetings of Mayo County Council and Castlebar Town Council. Cllr Durcan’s motion asked that the members ‘resolve in keeping with the will of the Irish people as emphatically expressed in the referendum of 1983 to oppose any form of legalisation for abortion under any circumstances’.
Mayo County Council passed the motion unanimously. The motion was also passed by Castlebar Town Council, although on town councillor, Labour’s Harry Barrett opposed the motion, saying that it should be deferred until after the expert review group on abortion made their recommendations.
Cllr Barrett explained that the European Court of Justice found in 2010 that Ireland had breached the human rights of a cancer patient whose life was threatened because of the pregnancy. He said there were certain circumstance where abortion was necessary.
“If it was my daughter or my wife … I would need something in Irish law where you can make a choice in a drastic situation. If someone was a victim of rape, I would want that choice [to be available to her]. We can’t allow women to die because of legislation and I ask the Council to wait for the expert group,” he said.
However, Cllr Barrett failed to secure a seconder for his motion and Cllr Durcan’s motion was passed by six votes to one, with Cllr Brendan Henaghan abstaining. Cllr Therese Ruane was absent.
Similar motions have been passed unanimously by both Donegal and Monaghan County Councils.
The meeting was attended by a large number of Pro-Life campaigners who met a number of councillors before the meeting.
Cllr Durcan said this was a humanitarian issue and asked that the right to life be guaranteed from conception in the womb. His proposal was seconded by Cllr Gerry Ginty, who said the issue of abortion has been ‘twisted’ by ‘so-called liberals’ with vested interests and that the thought of doctors leaving their families in the morning to carrying out abortions made him sick.

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