TD’s office vandalised as signs removed

The office of a Fianna Fáil TD has been vandalised by what appears to be members of the pro-life campaign.

This billboard on the road into Tralee is illegal and must be removed.

Vandals targeted the constituency office of James Lawless in Maynooth, Co Kildare, over the weekend, spraying black paint over a sign of his face and details.

It comes as the Cabinet are due to discuss the wording of a referendum on the Eighth Amendment today.

A ‘save lives, save the 8th’ sticker was also placed on a sign for his office, while the number eight in his phone details was crossed out.

Mr Lawless said: “It’s frustrating and disappointing to see this type of element creep into the debate, up to now the debate has been widely respectful. Hopefully this is a one-off and other TDs won’t be targeted.”

Mr Lawless added that the vandalism of his office was “really bizarre”, as he said he has been a quite moderate voice in the discussion of the Eighth Amendment.

Mr Lawless said he had reported the incident to the gardaí.

Vandalism to James Lawless’ constituency office.

Meanwhile, large billboards showing a heavily pregnant woman and foetus erected by the Kerry Right to Life movement are illegal and have to be removed, a spokesman for Kerry County Council said yesterday.

The signs advertising an “information meeting” had twice been removed already but had been re-erected.

A variety of large signs have been erected in and around the main towns of Tralee and Killarney in recent weeks and some have been removed, though the council said the removal had nothing to do with their content, but rather with a general crackdown on unauthorised signs in a tourist county that closely safeguarded its scenery.

Three large billboards which had been erected on the main Killarney to Tralee roads and on the Ring of Kerry, posing the question if abortion was healthcare to advertise the meeting, were taken down by council workers last week.

The removed billboards were re-erected later. They were taken down again and re-erected and will now have to be taken down again, a spokesman said.

The chairman of Kerry Right to Life, Fianna Fáil councillor John Joe Culloty, said last week his group were supporting the meeting and they had erected the signs. He felt he had permission and been given the go-ahead by the council. Mr Culloty called for clarity from council engineers and the roads department on the issue

The meeting on February 25 in Tralee is to be addressed by psychiatrist Patricia Casey and obstetrician John Monaghan, and is chaired by Killarney GP and UL lecturer Andrew Regan.

Kerry County Council has confirmed it had twice removed the billboards.

The content of the billboards was not the issue, the council spokesman said. It was not necessarily because people had complained — the council workers themselves were vigilant about unauthorised signage.

“The policy in Kerry is the permission of the local authority is required for all signage. The signs put up in recent days did not have such permission.

Mr Culloty said he now had clarity and did not feel it necessary to take down the large signs — which he said numbered just three — as he was applying in writing to retain them.

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