'Death threat' to abortion committee member Ruth Coppinger

'Death threat' to abortion committee member Ruth Coppinger

An Oireachtas abortion committee member received an apparent death threat two weeks ago, describing her as a “baby killer” who would be “put in hell where you belong R.I.P.”.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger confirmed the correspondence as committee colleagues said they have been inundated with abusive pro-choice and pro-life emails and letters, framed pictures of Judas, and religious figurines since their work began.

Speaking individually to the Irish Examiner, politicians said they have each received hundreds of items of correspondence from the public since their first public meetings in September.

And while all, including Ms Coppinger, said most correspondence was respectful, they confirmed they have also received abusive messages.

'Death threat' to abortion committee member Ruth Coppinger

Ms Coppinger said the majority of the hundreds of items sent to her has been “overwhelmingly constructive” and “punctures the myth that the debate is fraught and hostile”.

However, she confirmed that two letters were “threatening” and “vile”, with one sent to her constituency office two weeks ago reading “Baby killer, I will put you in hell where you belong” alongside “R.I.P” and a drawing of a cross.

Pro-life TD Mattie McGrath said he has received 1,231 emails and letters, with on average 100 supporting the Eighth Amendment for every five that want changes or repeal.

He said while he sees “no intimidation” from the “extremely large” pro-life “silent majority”, some pro-choice letters are “vitriolic and juvenile”.

Almost all committee members said they received a framed picture of Judas last week from an address in Adare, Co Limerick, which contained a quote from canon law 1,398 saying any pro-choice advocates have been excommunicated.

The large package — believed to have cost in excess of €600 to send to almost all 21 committee members due to its size and quality — blamed doctors, women receiving abortions, and “the boyfriend”, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan, Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, Fianna Fáil TD Anne Rabbitte, and Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly said most of the hundreds of items of correspondence to them had been respectful, although all four said they do not read “copy and paste” campaign group emails.

A small number privately said they have also received religious figurines, while others accused pro-choice and pro-life committee members of encouraging aggressive emails to rivals.

Senator Rónán Mullen said he has received “some unpleasant e-mails, an angry phone call, and a lot of abuse on Twitter” but added that he believes some politicians are “exploiting” the letters for publicity and questioned “who’s actually sending this stuff out”.

Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien was one of a small number of committee members not to receive any notable letters, saying: “I haven’t received anything to be honest, feel very left out.”

This article first appeared on the Irish Examiner.

More in this Section

Luke Kelly statue vandalised for seventh time in DublinLuke Kelly statue vandalised for seventh time in Dublin

Labour party calls for eviction ban legal advice to be publishedLabour party calls for eviction ban legal advice to be published

Public urged to contact GP with Covid-19 symptoms amid reports of delayed presentationPublic urged to contact GP with Covid-19 symptoms amid reports of delayed presentation

Galway plane crashed on way to hospice fundraiserGalway plane crashed on way to hospice fundraiser


Lifestyle

Conservationist Giles Clark takes on the illegal wildlife trade, as well as the task of building a bear sanctuary in Laos, South-east Asia, in BBC Two series Bears About The House.Five minutes with ... Giles Clark

Forget G-spots. Let's focus on the C-spot and close the orgasm gap once and for all.Sex File: The G-spot is dead. Long live the C-spot

Workshop leaders from the West Cork Literary Festival offer tips for writing in areas such as biography, short stories and travel, writes Des O’DriscollSo you want to be a writer?

'He told us we were so scared of dying, we forgot how to live” - Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment is this week's podcast pickPodcast Corner: Guru tells of sweat-lodge tragedy and James Arthur Ray

More From The Irish Examiner