FINE GAEL TD Simon Harris has responded to criticism directed at him over his position on abortion on his Facebook page.
Harris admitted that he was against voting in favour of legislation introducing abortion in Ireland, but denied that he had intentionally ‘liked’ a particular comment on his page which expressed opposition to abortion.
“I want to absolutely clarify that if that post was “liked” it was done so in error whilst reading through the threads. As soon as I was notified of this it was rectified. I think having a respectful conversation on this issue is important,” he wrote.
Harris explained that his party had met for its weekly meeting last Wednesday and that, despite such meetings being private, comments were often leaked. He described such leaks as regrettable as they “did not afford people the opportunity to have the full context of a conversation” but said that he – and many other in his party – had strongly held views on the topic.
Referring to his colalition partners Labour, Harris said: “It is no secret that traditionally the two parties in Government have a very different stance on this issue.”
Although stating his opposition to introducing abortion in Ireland, he continued:
Having said that, it is very clear that Ireland has an obligation to provide legal clarity and certainty around the issue of abortion. The Court found some time ago that Ireland’s law is not clear in this area. There is no doubt or dispute that legal clarity will be needed – the debate, I guess, centres around the content of any such legislation.
Harris reiterated Fine Gael’s general election commitment that pregnant women should receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives – while upholding the duty of care to preserve the life of a baby.
He also noted that while he did not support the introduction of abortion in Ireland, he was not a member or supporter of any organisation campaigning on the issue of abortion.
“In fact, I find some of the billboard advertisements extremely distasteful and unhelpful to decent public discourse,” he said.
Read the full statement by Simon Harris>
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