herald

Thursday 24 May 2018

'Posters targeting me are a low blow' - Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD
Minister for Health Simon Harris TD

Health Minister Simon Harris has described graphic posters erected in his Wicklow constituency as a "low blow" but said he won't be intimidated.

The posters show his face alongside what appears to be an aborted foetus.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Harris said the posters were upsetting for both his family and people locally, and he appealed for people to return to a civil campaign.

"They are very upsetting posters, they're upsetting for my family," he said.

Horrific

"They're upsetting for anyone who has seen them. They're upsetting for any parent who is out and about with their children driving by the most horrific images which have been put on posters.

"No matter how upset I am, or my family are, it's nowhere near as upsetting as the nine women travelling abroad today from this country to access terminations. It's nowhere near as upsetting as the three women today who will take abortion pills, alone, isolated and without medical support."

The minister said he will continue his work in calling for a 'Yes' vote despite the posters.

"I have no intention of being intimidated in any way, shape or form from getting the facts and information out as we enter the last two weeks and a bit of this campaign," he said.

"I think it's really a low blow. Up until this point, a number of people had remarked that this campaign had been more civil than abortion campaigns in the past."

Mr Harris also welcomed the fact that the posters would be taken down, with Wicklow County Council stating it has referred the matter to the returning officer.

Charlie Flanagan
Charlie Flanagan

Meanwhile, the Herald understands that gardai have not received any complaints about the posters.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan also criticised the posters on Twitter yesterday, describing them as "obscene".

Former ministers Liz McManus, from the Labour Party, and Gemma Hussey, from Fine Gael, have described the depiction on the posters as a "horror show".

Illness

Ms Hussey and Ms McManus were speaking at the launch of Grandparents for Yes, a pro-repeal group also involving broadcaster Vincent Browne and retired judge Catherine McGuinness.

Mr Browne was forced to pull out of his appearance at the event at the last minute due to illness, a campaign spokesperson told the Herald.

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