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Anne Ferris
Anne Ferris
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Labour TD reveals 'absolutely disgusting' hate mail

Anne Ferris said she could wallpaper a room in her house with the abuse she has received.
Jan 30th 2016, 1:44 PM 21,274 330

LABOUR TD ANNE Ferris has said she received “absolutely disgusting” hate mail over her views on abortions, saying those who sent it are “not Christian people”.

The Wicklow deputy lost the Labour whip last year after she voted in favour of a bill to legislate for abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

She was later readmitted to the parliamentary party.

But speaking at the Labour conference in Mullingar today, Ferris said she was and is on the receiving end of abuse for her views:

I get it by email, I get it by letter, I get anonymous phone calls. These people who say they are Catholics and what I’m saying is disgraceful. They are not Christian people.

She said she could “wallpaper” one of the rooms in her house with the amount of abusive correspondence she has received.

In an impassioned speech that was well-received by delegates in the room, Ferris said she believed women have the right to choose.

“I believe that women, especially in crisis pregnancies, don’t need anybody – don’t need the church, don’t need men, don’t need other political parties dictating to them,” she said.

“We have taken stories of women that we have listened to, and their husbands and partners, who had to go England. Women suffering with fatal foetal abnormalities. Women who are pregnant as a result of rape and incest.

They are trapped in this country and the only resource they have if they want to terminate their pregnancy is to go to England. We don’t have the places here to look after women and that is an absolute disgrace.

Labour plans to campaign for repeal of the Eighth Amendment, which enshrines the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn in the Constitution, in the forthcoming general election.

mm2-3 Michael McNamara Source: Facebook

During the same discussion, Clare TD Michael McNamara criticised the decision to strip Ferris of the party whip – albeit temporarily – after she voted against the government last year.

“I think it shows that we have a fundamental problem with the way we do politics as a party. Every other party does too but they can worry about their problems, let us worry about ours,” he said.

McNamara, who also lost the whip after voting against the sale of Aer Lingus last year, said Labour in government had not changed the way politics is done.

In a strongly-worded critique of the party, he added:

At the moment, the vast majority of people out there view our national parliament in 2016, a hundred years after the Rising, as a Punch and Judy show which is completely irrelevant to their lives. That has to change.

The conference is continuing with Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton due to give a televised address to delegates this evening.

Read: Labour reckons its incredibly fabulous candidates can win 36 seats

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Hugh O'Connell


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