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TD warned: 'Your days are numbered, check under your car'

Waterford deputy John Halligan has received a death threat in the wake of his criticism of the actions of some pro-life campaigners in the Dáil this week.

John Halligan
John Halligan
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

WATERFORD TD JOHN Halligan has revealed that an email containing a death threat was sent to his office this morning in the wake of his comments about the increasingly heated abortion debate earlier this week.

Halligan said that one of the staff in his office opened the email addressed to him this morning. He described its content as “very sexually orientated” and “abusive” and said the email was signed by a man but he did not identify him.

“The main threat was that ‘your days are numbered, check under your car,’” he told TheJournal.ie this afternoon saying the correspondence is “absolutely linked” to his comments in the Dáil about the abortion debate. The email has been reported to the gardaí.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions yesterday, Halligan told Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore that TDs are being subjected to a series of threats from people opposed to the abortion legislation.

“Some [TDs] have been ambushed outside of their house, they have been spat at, they have been threatened that their house will be burned down and one has even been threatened with having her throat cut,” he said yesterday.

Speaking today, Halligan said that he would not be intimidated by the threats and would not be “checking under my car every day” but said that the contents of the email had been very upsetting for staff in his office.

“I was upset for the girls in the office having to read the terrible sexual content in it,” he said. “My main issue is that if he was let away with this and he has some personal differences with someone else, can he make this threat again to someone else?”

Fundamentalists

Halligan said it was not the first time he had been threatened and intimidated by what he said were pro-life campaigners.

“They came to my door in the middle of the night and pushed leaflets through the letterbox and they corralled me while I was out walking with my partner on a beach in Tramore,” he said.

“They wouldn’t listen to what I had to say. One said I’d be better off digging a hole and jumping into it.

“There is a minority of them. I think they’re a sizable minority that are carrying on like this but my argument in the Dáíl was that the Catholic Church are not standing up and condemning this.”

Halligan, who is in favour of expanding the abortion law to make terminations available to women who are raped or whose foetuses have fatal abnormalities, said that many within the pro-life movement are reasonable, but some are not.

“Pro life people are reasonable but there are others who are completely unreasonable. We talk about fundamentalists in the Muslim world, well these are just a pack of fundamentalists, we have it here in Ireland.

“Nobody should be corralled into a position that they don’t want to be in, no one should be threatened,” he added.

He also challenged senator Rónán Mullen to produce evidence of specific threats sent to him about his stance on abortion following the pro-life campaigner’s comments this week that every politician was receiving “nasty messages”.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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