LAST Thursday night, Together for Safety launched its national campaign for legislation to put safe access zones around health care facilities around the country.
“There are protesters most days outside the Maternity Hospital in Limerick and we’ve been contacted by so many people who are distressed and angry about their presence” said campaign organiser, Yvie Murphy.
The campaign launched to a packed screen and included guest speakers, former Limerick TD Jan O’Sullivan and legal expert Máiréad Enright.
Jan O’Sullivan said, “It is important that we campaign now to ensure that this legislation is drafted. It is about balancing the right to protestwith the right of people to access healthcare in privacy”.
Ms O’Sullivan continued, “The department of health is incredibly busy right now, but the people who would be drafting this legislation would not be those working on Covid-19, there is no reason why they could not be working on this and getting it moving.”
Máiréad Enright agreed, adding that bringing in safe access zone legislation doesn’t mean that people lose their right to protest, simply that protestors do not have the right to a specific “captive audience” and would have to protest away from health centres. “This is not an argument about censoring, but about the audiences’ right to withdraw.”
The Together for Safety team are inviting anyone who might have been impacted by protests taking place outside maternity hospitals or family planning clinics around the country to consider sharing their experiences with them.
Campaign organiser Karen Sugrue added “We want to show the real heart ache this is causing people so that elected representatives will make addressing this a priority over the coming months.”
The campaign team can be contacted by emailing [email protected]. More information about Together for Safetycan be found at limerickfeministnetwork.com/together-for-safety/ and people can anonymously submit their experiences here.