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Reilly accuses Mullen of "trying to denigrate the medical profession"

Senator Rónán Mullen told the Minister he had “no respect for life”, to which Minister Reilly responded that Mullen had a “scoundrel’s charter”.

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(AoifeBarryTJ/YouTube)

INDEPENDENT SENATOR RÓNÁN Mullen has been accused of having a “scoundrel’s charter”, and of trying to denigrate the medical industry, by the Health Minister.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly was speaking today in the Seanad on proposed amendments to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

He described comments from one Fianna Fáil senator, Jim Walsh, as “dramatic and some would say offensive”. Walsh had come under fire last week for his descriptive speeches on abortion procedures.

But the Health Minister emphasised that Walsh had described “procedures that do not take place in this country, and will not take place in this country”.

Reilly said that Walsh implied that it cannot be guaranteed that these procedures did not take place, “and he’s absolutely right”.

The minister said he can’t guarantee this by the very lack of this bill being in the legislation, as it means “we have no notifications of the terminations that have been taking place even though they are legal since 1992″.

Senator Walsh “talked of torture”, said Minister Reilly.

This implies the willful infliction of pain, which this certainly is not about, and the ability to experience it and to suffer as a consequence, which I clearly have outlined is not the case.

Senator Rónán Mullen (back left) and Senator Jim Walsh (front middle)

Minister Reilly said that Senator Mullen said the bill showed a profound disrespect for life.

“I utterly reject that,” said Reilly. “This is all about respecting life, respecting the life of a woman and her unborn child and an attempt to save one rather than lose two, Senator”.

Senator Mullen shot back: “No, you have no respect for life, Minister”.

To this, Reilly replied:

And then again you go with your scoundrel’s charter, seeking to denigrate the medical profession, carrying on your theme from last week, which I find objectionable.

Mullen contented in response that “some [members of the medical profession] deserve to be denigrated”.

The Health Minister also outlined that there will be no additional training required for medical professionals after the bill comes into play, and that it is part of normal training to deal with miscarriages, as some women do not have a complete miscarriage which poses a health risk.

He proposed not to accept amendment 1.

When Senator Mullen spoke again while the Minister was speaking, Minister Reilly told him: “For all your respect, and talk of respect, you have interrupted me a number of times”. He added: “I have not interrupted you”.

In response, Mullen told him: “You show no respect”.

Senator Walsh said he was extremely disappointed with the minister’s response but not surprised. He said the introduction of the legislation “is not going to advance the protection of women in any shape or form”.

Read: How does Irish abortion law compare to rest of EU?>

Videos: Senator says he’s been asked to ‘act like a robot’ as FF stages walkout>

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