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Pro-life group wants to raise €18,000 to fund Facebook page targeting Irish teens

Family and Life’s director David Manly has said there has been increased interest in secondary school presentations by his organisation.

Image: facebook image via Shutterstock

A PRO-LIFE group is seeking funding of more than €18,000 from supporters to run and advertise a Facebook page targeting Irish teenagers.

Family and Life, a registered charity located on Mountjoy Square in Dublin, describes itself as Ireland’s largest pro-life organisation.

In a letter sent to households in recent weeks, director David Manly explains how his organisation is “about to fill a huge gap” with its schools presentation project.

“You’ll love it and pro-abortionists will hate it. That’s because what we’re about to do is guaranteed to bring more young people to the pro-life side than ever before,” he writes.

Manly claims there has been a ‘big uptake’ in the number of schools requesting presentations from the group.

His correspondence includes a letter purporting to be from a teacher in one of the secondary schools the group visited. In this letter, the teacher says there is a “real need to reinforce what the students learned about life issues” during the presentation.

As soon as they leave the school building, they’re bombarded with anti-life advertising, TV shows and Facebook messages. It’s even more intense now with the campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment,” they continue.

The anonymous teacher suggests the group set up a Facebook page as a “way to reach many more young people”.

‘Deep pockets’

Manly says his organisation is “terribly worried” about reports of increasing numbers of classroom presentations by Amnesty International and the Irish Family Planning Association.

With the deep pockets and big employee rosters that Amnesty International and the Irish Family Planning Association have, it could become a monumental challenge for Family and Life’s Schools Project to keep up with them. I would hate to have to borrow funds from other vital pro-life programmes to do it.

Manly continues by telling potential supporters the cost of developing branding and maintaining the page for one year is €15,700 and with an additional €3,000, the group could” obtain lists of 450,000 Facebook users between the ages of 13 and 18″.

“This €18,700 can be raised even faster if four Family and Life supporters will step forward with sacrifices of €500 each, and if another two dear friends will give €1,000 each. Can you be one of them?”

Charities are permitted under Irish law to solicit donations with letters such as the one circulated by Family and Life, so long as fundraising does not:

  • Unreasonably intrude on a person’s privacy;
  • Involve making unreasonably persistent approaches for donations;
  • Result in undue pressure being placed on people;
  • Involve making false or misleading representations about the urgency of the need for funds, the application of those funds or the charity’s purposes and activities.

‘A targeted audience’

In 2014, Fine Gael TD Jim Daly spoke about the group in the Dáil, referencing a similar letter which he said was sent to “a targeted audience, primarily vulnerable elderly people”.

Source: OireachtasRetortTV/YouTube

The donations were being sought to fund a legal case. At the time, Daly called for an investigation into the organisation.

Last year, the Sunday Times also reported the organisation was trying to raise more than €67,000 for an anti-abortion campaign targeting working-class voters in anticipation of a referendum on the Eighth Amendment. In an email to subscribers, Family and Life told potential donors that the money would be used to try to “keep abortion-on-demand our of Ireland”.

TheJournal.ie contacted Family and Life through the number provided in Manly’s recent letter and confirmed with a staff member that they were accepting donations for a Facebook page aimed at teenagers.

The organisation did not respond to a formal request for further comment on its plans.

Read: ‘When the blood flows from abortion, Satan has his day’ – Citizens’ Assembly letters go online>

Read: Broadcasting watchdog upholds two more complaints against Ray D’Arcy over abortion discussions>

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