herald

Monday 22 October 2018

Senator Mullen 'not sorry' about his abortion stance

SENATOR Ronan Mullen believes he has "nothing to apologise for" as the war of words over his alleged treatment of abortion campaigners deepened.

The politician has now claimed the couple complaining about his behaviour "disliked" him and his pro-life stance.

James Burke and his wife Amanda Mellet say that Senator Mullen was "extremely unsympathetic" to a group of women who have gone public on their harrowing abortion experiences.

But the senator is refusing to back down, with a spokesperson telling the Herald there would be no apology for his "argumentative style".

Senator Mullen is reported to have asked the campaigners if they had another "agenda" following their meeting with politicians at Leinster House.

Termination

Arlette Lyons, who travelled abroad six weeks ago to have a termination, said she is extremely annoyed by senator's attitude. "Why I would have an agenda against a person I didn't even know is laughable. I didn't even know he was a senator, I thought he was a TD."

Speaking on The Late Show on Classic Hits 4FM she added that "losing her daughter was the bigger agenda".

Mr Burke and Ms Mellet were part of a group that spoke with Oireachtas members about how they had to travel to the UK to access abortion services after receiving diagnoses that their babies' conditions were "incompatible with life".

They believe abortion should be available in Ireland in such circumstances.

Mr Burke said he was shocked by the incident and insisted they have no agenda other than helping other couples in the same situation as themselves.

Shocked

Mr Burke said: "I shook his hand and said 'thanks for coming down'. But he said to me as I was shaking his hand: 'But you have a bigger agenda, don't you James'.

"And I was just shocked for a minute. And Amanda heard this, she was beside me and I just said 'what?' and he said 'you have a bigger agenda, don't you?'."

Mr Burke added "Irish couples are travelling to Liverpool right now and we just want this to end, we don't want anybody else to suffer."

The senator acknowledged he used the word 'agenda' once after he was told he was disliked but added: "I want to put on record that I deeply sympathise with the women in this case while remaining true to my own view that even severely disabled babies with a short life expectancy deserve to be allowed live their natural life.

"I strongly support the establishment of facilities to support women and families in this tragic situation."

hnews@herald.ie

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