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For and against: The letters Irish people have written to the Taoiseach about abortion

The majority of the letters urge the Taoiseach not to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

One of the letters sent to the Taoiseach.
One of the letters sent to the Taoiseach.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has been sent a flurry of letters by members of the public about abortion, with the majority asking him not to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

The bulk of representations sent to him so far this year urged no change to abortion laws, with one handwritten note including images of aborted foetuses.

Of letters received by his department since January, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, almost two-thirds were from people objecting to any change to Ireland’s abortion laws.

Although the number of letters is relatively small – 39 in total – they do perhaps give some sense of why the Fine Gael led-government has struggled with the issue.

  • Read the letters here: 

For and against: The letters Irish people have written to the Taoiseach about abortion
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  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach

  • Abortion letters sent to the Taoiseach


Several of the correspondents specifically say how the abortion debate is causing them to change their mind on whether to vote Fine Gael.

One letter starkly says: “Now that Fine Gael have gone pro-abortion, you have lost my vote.”

FOI on abortion 3

Others called for a “wholesome society” while another explained how they used to vote Fine Gael, but no longer because so many “weird laws” had been brought in by the last government.

One said even having a referendum on abortion was “itself a crime” while another attacked Fine Gael’s Mary Mitchell O’Connor for her support of “more liberal abortion legislation”.

FOI on abortion 6 cut

Three letters sent immediately after the general election said that Fine Gael and Labour’s disastrous performance could be linked to abortion.

The Taoiseach was also told he would have to “stand before God at judgment day”, that the “End of Times” was coming, and that plans for reform of the Eighth were “demoniacal”.

Cut - FOI on abortion 44

Several others attacked the holding of a citizen’s assembly with one saying it was essential that it be comprised of a 50/50 split of pro-choice and pro-life people.

Sabina Higgins, the wife of President Michael D Higgins, also came in for criticism for her comments that making women carry babies with fatal foetal abnormalities to full term was “an outrage”.

Sabina letter

Changing Ireland’s laws

The Taoiseach’s controversial comments about Ireland’s past history of voting on abortion were also questioned by both sides, including in a letter from TD Ruth Coppinger.

In calls for reform, one letter urged immediate legal change saying Ireland’s law pose a “threat to the physical and psychological health of … women”.

Another said Ireland had “one of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws” while another said they could not in conscience visit this country while it treated an “entire gender as second-class citizens”.

In a letter, a mother wrote how Ireland needed to put aside the “crutches of discriminatory religious belief” for the next generation, and how maternity care was being “compromised”.

FOI on abortion - cut

Several formal representations were also received from the coalition to repeal the Eighth Amendment, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and from Colm O’Gorman on behalf of Amnesty International.

FactCheck: Who got it right on ‘abortion up to birth’ – Cora Sherlock or Ivana Bacik?

Read: Supreme Court judge to chair assembly on repealing Eighth Amendment 

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Ken Foxe

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