Simon Harris has hit out at the No campaign for suggesting he is hiding from a real debate on the abortion issue.
Campaigners for a No vote have in recent weeks repeatedly criticised the Minister for not debating the issue and have called for a head to head debate as soon as possible.
#Savethe8th is calling on Minister Simon Harris to publicly debate the contents of his proposed legislation #8thref, so the people of Ireland can have a respectful debate and get just the facts. Harris must debate. Sign the petition ➡️ https://t.co/3KtjuUJu3B— Save Lives. Stop Abortion (@SaveLivesAlways) May 1, 2018
Mr Harris said today he was busy dealing with the CervicalCheck scandal and talking to the families affected when the No campaign made their claims.
The Minister said: "There was a photoshoot outside Leinster House with a podium with my name on it asking where I was.
"I think it was very evident to pretty much every citizen in this country exactly where I was in relation to that.
Speaking to Newstalk radio he said he was willing to debate the issue but did not clarify if he would accept the challenge of a head to head debate.
He told Newstalk Radio: "I will debate. Now this has become, I suppose, a kind of straw man argument.
"Debates will be decided not by the No campaign or the Yes campaign, certainly not by you nor I, but by broadcasters."
Speaking earlier in the week Cora Sherlock said a number of broadcasters have indicated that they are happy to facilitate a head to head debate.
"Now that broadcasters are ready, the stage is set. The only thing that’s missing is the Minister. He must now follow through on his commitment. The public are being denied the opportunity to hear about what the Minister’s abortion proposals contain.
"Voters are entitled to know just how extreme the planned legislation is which would lead to abortion on demand and is very far removed from the restrictive sounding legislation that the Minister has been presenting to the public.”
- Digital Desk