Lynch pushes Church over abortion outcasts

The Catholic Church should publicly state whether it has a policy of refusing communion to TDs who voted for X Case legislation, a Government minister has insisted.

Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch issued the challenge on RTÉ after a number of Dáil deputies expressed concern at pressure being put on them over support for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy laws.

Ms Lynch said it was time for the Catholic hierarchy to make it clear where it stood on the matter of priests refusing communion to TDs and senators who had backed the legislation.

The Cork Labour TD said she had been told by some parishioners that she should be excommunicated. “It was actually lay people that came up and said it to me ‘you’re going to be excommunicated’. And I said ‘you know I’m in very good company — I think de Valera — I said I can only go up from here; it didn’t do their careers any harm’.”

A spokesperson for the Catholic bishops was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, the Labour leadership has said it is “relaxed” over claims in a new book that the party was riven with tension during the general election campaign.

The Price of Power, by Pat Leahy, states that deputy leader Joan Burton was critical of Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s decision to use the now infamous slogan: “It’s Labour’s way or Frankfurt’s way” during the Feb 2011 election campaign.

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