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Rosary chants and 'Savita' banners greet TDs ahead of contentious vote

Dozens of pro-life protesters are maintaining their vigil as deputies arrive ahead of today’s abortion vote. Pro-choice campaigners said there were “tensions” between the groups overnight.
Jul 10th 2013, 10:57 AM 10,925 334

SOME EIGHTY ANTI-ABORTION demonstrators maintained a vigil outside Dáil Eireann this morning as TDs began to arrive for the day’s proceedings, while around a dozen pro-choice protesters kept camp alongside them.

Deputies are due to vote again on the contentious ‘Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill’, and it’s expected Fine Gael will lose the support of one of its highest-profile members if European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton follows through with threats to vote against the legislation when a number of amendments are called.

Around 300 people attended a pro-life vigil outside the gates of Leinster House last night, and some members said they would remain in place throughout the day to send a message to those inside.

A man with a loudhailer was leading the pro-life crowd in decades of the rosary this morning, as their numbers moved to flank the much-smaller pro-choice group who also began their ‘camp-out’ last night.

Those campaigning in support of the Bill said there had been tensions during the course of the night and verbal intimidation from “the other side” – a charge rejected by a pro-life spokesperson, who said it had been “completely peaceful”.

TheJournal.ie spoke to representatives from both sides. Here’s what Bernadette Smith of the group ‘Precious Life’ had to say…

Eleanor White of the ‘Abortion Rights’ campaign said there had been a ‘fraught’ atmosphere as the two groups maintained a presence outside the Dáil overnight…

The Dáil will hold debates and votes on the legislation throughout the day. The first debate is likely to get under way after the Order of Business at around 11.20am and last up until 1.30pm.

The final debate on the Bill will be held between 9 and 10pm when a final vote will be called.

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Daragh Brophy

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