BY SEÁN P. FEENY
ORGANISERS of the Prayer and Walk for Life have expressed their disappointment that Donegal’s members of the Dáil failed to attend the event in Letterkenny and speak to the public.
It is estimated that well over 1,000 participated in the event on Saturday afternoon organised by the Diocese of Raphoe ahead of this week’s vote in Dáil Éireann on the Abortion bill.The event began with a half an hour of prayer at St Eunan’s Cathedral led by Bishop Philip Boyce.
Members of the public were then invited to walk together to Bernard McGlinchey Town Park where a five expert speakers had been organised to speak to the public.
Organisers said they were ‘overwhelmed’ by the reaction they received from participants of all ages and different faiths.
While welcoming the turnout out of some elected representatives, they also expressed their disappointment at the fact that no member of the Dáil attended.
Fr Eamon McLaughlin, a member of the organising team said: “We very much welcome that politicians such as MEPs Pat the Cope Gallagher and Marian Harkin and Senator Brían Ó Domhnaill attended, but there were none of our local TDs present to engage and speak to the members of the public.
“The only TD who responded to our invitation was Independent Thomas Pringle who excused himself.”
Fr McLaughlin said the idea behind the event was to get as much clarification as possible on the ‘true’ impact of the proposed legislation.
“We wanted to try and get the best people we could to speak on the technicalities and we got five fantastic speakers for the event.
“They included Dr John Monaghan, Consultant Obstetrician, who sacrificed his birthday celebrations to travel up to speak to the public; legal expert Caroline Simons; Precious Life founder Bernadette Smyth, Senator Rónán Mullen and ‘Kathleen’, a member of Silent No More, whom we were really pleased to be able to get.”
Fr McLaughlin said the large turnout was a sign that there is still demand for more public debate and clarity on the legislation going to vote on the landmark bill in the dáil.