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Families of those who died in road accidents 'upset' at placing of white crosses in Donegal

A Donegal Pro-Life campaigner told TheJournal.ie that “this is our version of posters”.

Crosses Source: Barry Whyte

SOME OF THE white crosses erected along a stretch of road in Letterkenny by a Pro-Life group have been removed overnight.

The group has claimed that there are 17,000 crosses along a 25km stretch of road between Letterkenny and the Bridgend roundabout, which aims to represent the number of abortions they predict there would be if the Eighth Amendment were repealed in Friday’s referendum.

Pro-Life campaigner Christopher, who wished to be named by his first name only, told TheJournal.ie that their posters had been removed repeatedly so “this is our version of posters”.

It’s understood that Donegal County Council had removed some of the crosses on the roundabout yesterday afternoon because of road safety issues. Christopher rejected the suggestion that the crosses posed any danger, saying they were too small to be a safety concern.

There had been reports of some people “jumping out of cars” to remove the white crosses yesterday. This morning, Christopher said that most of them had been removed.

He claimed that this was “utter censorship” and that the people who did it would be “terrified of the backlash they would get had they attempted it in broad daylight”.

IMG_0258 Some of the removed crosses, which had been bagged every 20 metres.

Before the crosses were removed overnight, pro-choice campaigner Taryn de Vere had written ‘Savita’ on a cross, as well as other high-profile names associated with the ‘Yes’ side.

After posting an image to social media, she said other women who said they were affected by the Eighth Amendment got in touch and asked that their names be included as well.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Donegal Together for Yes campaigner Sinéad Stewart said that discussions on the referendum in the area had generally been very respectful – but that some campaigners on the No side were giving the county a bad name.

Some locals who had lost family members in road accidents had been upset by the placing of crosses along a particular stretch of road, she said.

We’re renowned worldwide as being a welcoming place, and it’s doing no favours to Donegal. It’s upset a lot of people on the No side and the Yes side.

Responding to this, Christopher said that Donegal has had “an awful lot of car crashes”, and that there was a “culture of young men driving cars very fast and recklessly in the middle of the night”.

“We all want to reduce the number of victim on the roads, but this is a far more important issue right now. I’ll happily join any campaign for Donegal road safety, but right now the critical issue is that there could be 17,000 abortions in Ireland every year. That is really scary.”

Roads are claiming a lot of lives but it’s absolutely nothing compared to abortion. That’s the reason the crosses are small, to show that they represent children.

Advocates for a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum have argued that women are already travelling abroad for abortions, and that research shows the rate of abortion doesn’t increase after it’s legalised.

sign

Christopher accused Together for Yes of hijacking the white crosses, using them to highlight the “minimal number of women who they claim have been affected by the Eighth”.

“Our biggest concern in this is censorship, and I don’t mean censorship by Together for Yes. The media are censoring us; the TV don’t let us on; the radio are giving us a very difficult time; Google and Facebook has shut advertising down.

It’s very worrying and you’d have to ask what’s Ireland going to look like in 20 years time.

On Thursday, a 100-metre tall ‘NO’ was put up on the side of Ben Bulben – yesterday morning it had been removed.

The referendum is less than a week away, with both sides looking to win over the remaining undecideds (according to an Irish Times poll, that amounts to 17% of voters).

Today Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin said that both women’s and babies’ lives “are precious, to be loved, valued and protected” and that what was proposed in the wake of the referendum was “a very liberal abortion regime”.

“To be against abortion is not simply ‘a Catholic thing’… To take away an innocent human life can never be simply a matter of personal choice,” he said.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that people who believe women would pretend to have a mental health problem to get an abortion “have a very low opinion of women”.

He said that “the case that we’re making is that the Eighth Amendment has failed” and that “we thought that it would save lives, that it would stop abortion – but it hasn’t… we should accept that and regulate it”.

Donegal County Council has been contacted for comment.

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