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abortion clinic

Pat Kenny: 'My voice couldn't even be heard in case an Irish person was nearby'

The veteran broadcaster has spoken of the challenges he faced while reporting on abortion in the United Kingdom.


PAT KENNY WAS so conscious of the possibility of meeting an Irish person while reporting at an abortion clinic in the United Kingdom he had to slip in and out unnoticed.

In an interview with, the veteran broadcaster spoke of the challenges involved in putting together a series on the topic of terminations for his Newstalk programme, The Pat Kenny Show.

Kenny and his team travelled to an abortion facility in Manchester to speak with staff who work there.

“We were aware of the possibility that we might meet an Irish person on the day,” he said, “So I had to make sure I arrived and I didn’t meet anyone except the staff, that there would be no possibility of even my voice being heard in the clinic.”

Video / YouTube

The last thing you want to do is impinge on someone’s decision on way or the other, for good or for ill. The fact that Pat Kenny is in building could do something to change someone’s mind in either direction.

Despite his more than 40-year career in current affairs, and having covered the issue last time it dominated headlines during the X case, Kenny says the outcome of any referendum on abortion is “impossible” to predict.

“It will depend on what is put on the table,” he said.

“The hard cases that people have talked about, in particular fatal foetal abnormalities, I think that will be persuasive for a lot of people.”

Anything broader than foetal abnormalities may be complicated.

Video / YouTube

Kenny said there will be arguments and counterarguments for anything more broad than that. For example, the argument against including cases of rape is that in Dublin a procedure to remove tissue in the uterus, known as a D&C, is already performed, or the morning after pill is administered.

He added that while the same-sex marriage referendum was a good news story “about people being happy together”, the abortion debate isn’t a positive one.

In this case it’s all about bad news, whether it’s a woman who is faced with the reality of carrying a baby with a fatal foetal abnormality or someone who is in a crisis pregnancy, be it rape or be it another reason, one way or the other that is kind of bad news.

We’ll have more from the interview with Pat Kenny in the coming days.

Read: Belfast court rules abortion should be available in cases of rape and fatal foetal abnormality >

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