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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

Lucinda Creighton tells Olivia O’Leary to ‘get a grip’ over abortion issue

The junior minister heavily criticises the journalist Olivia O’Leary over her recent radio column in which she said it was time to “kick the Taliban out of our constitution”.

Lucinda Creighton is Minister of State for European Affairs
Lucinda Creighton is Minister of State for European Affairs
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

JUNIOR MINISTER LUCINDA Creighton has strongly criticised the journalist Olivia O’Leary over her comments in relation to the abortion debate in a blog posted on her website today.

The Fine Gael TD has hit out at O’Leary over her radio column for RTÉ’s Drivetime earlier this week in which she discussed the ongoing abortion debate and urged that the people of Ireland to “kick the Taliban out of our constitution”.

Creighton has taken issue with O’Leary stating that “Ireland is no country for young women” and her comparison of the Constitution to the Taliban saying such a statement is “grossly misleading”.

“I am a relatively young woman and I consider Ireland to be a fantastic, safe, free and open country in which to live. I am proud of my country and I will defend Ireland to the last,” the junior minister writes.

She urges O’Leary to “reflect on just how lucky we are” continuing: “How privileged we are to live in the free, open, caring, tolerant society that is Ireland. And perhaps reflect on how much we take this for granted.”

Creighton continues: “I respect the views of the many people who disagree with me on the question of how we should handle the issue of abortion. But I cannot respect the sort of hysteria and incitement which poured forth from Ms. O’Leary on RTE radio the other day.

“You may want abortion to be brought in Olivia, but please do not suggest that ours is a country comparable with one ruled by an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist movement. Get a grip.”

The Minister of State for European Affairs cites a statement from over 100 consultant psychiatrists which has expressed concerns about legislating for abortion in line with the X Case which would include the risk of suicide as a grounds for requesting a termination.

Creighton writes: “Legislating for suicidality worries me, because as 113 consultant psychiatrists said clearly today, such a step has ‘no basis in medical evidence’.”

The minister rejects characterisations of her as a “fanatic or fundamentalist” and says that she has no “religious or idealogical ‘hang-up’”. Creighton reveals that she considered herself to be liberal on the issue of abortion when she was a student.

But she continues: “I suppose I simply bought into the accepted notion that a foetus is simply an extension of a woman and not a person.

“However, I have come to believe that I was wrong. And I don’t change my view lightly.

“My opinion is, I suppose, shaped by a number of factors, personal experience with family members and friends, a more objective analysis of the arguments on both sides and of course the facts, which are all important.

“The clear view of those practicing psychiatrists is most convincing.”

Creighton says that the abortion debate is a “human rights issue” and notes what she calls a “great irony” that “we throw all the resources in the world (and rightly so) at saving the life of a premature baby born at 23 or 24 weeks, and yet some may consider the abortion of that baby, at the same stage to be right and just. I don’t.”

She accepts the need to clarify the law surrounding when a doctor can carry out an abortion without fear of legal action and insists that she has “no fear” of the Oireachtas giving legal underpinning to the Medical Council guidelines while at the same protecting the Eight Amendment.

Creighton concludes: “Unlike Olivia O’Leary, I believe that the Ireland of today is a great country for young women. Thankfully it is also a great country for all people, including young babies.”

Read: Restrictive Irish abortion law ‘could be rejected by Europe’

Read: Children’s Minister: ‘Six doctors is clearly too many’ for abortion panel

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