The Pro Life campaign has hit out at the former chair of the Oireachtas abortion committee, Catherine Noone, following heavy criticism of a tweet on Sunday which many have dubbed as an attack on freedom of religious expression and ageist.
In her tweet – which has since been deleted – Ms Noone wrote: “Easter Mass in Knock Basilica this afternoon with my parents – an octogenarian priest took at least three opportunities to preach to us about abortion – it’s no wonder people feel disillusioned with the Catholic Church.”
The tweet has led to an angry out pouring across social media including from Waterford TD Mary Butler.
— Mary Butler TD (@mary_butler_) April 2, 2018
Senator Noone seems to forget that we have freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of speech and that the separation of Church/State protects religious expression as well as protecting the State. Senator Noone is entitled to make her point, but so is the Church. https://t.co/WR29L3Abjd
— Thomas Byrne (@ThomasByrneTD) April 2, 2018
Responding to the controversy Ms Noone said she had merely been attempting to “paint a picture” by using the term “octogenarian” in her tweet.
She told the Irish Independent: “When I do go to Mass, I don’t expect to be confronted with the issue. Maybe that’s naivety on my part.
“I’m not ageist, anyone who knows me knows I’m not ageist.”
She said the tweet was deleted because she did not need the negativity and that “certain people are trying to take anything I say and construe it in a certain way”.
Responding to the senators comments today Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said that perhaps Senator Noone should elaborate on the picture she was trying to paint with her tweet.
“She insists her remarks were not ageist. Okay then, what message was she trying to convey? I thought she called for a measured and reasoned debate on numerous occasions where everyone would be free to express their sincerely held views on the Eighth Amendment without being attacked or caricatured.
“Senator Noone claims she deleted her offensive tweet not because she didn’t stand over it but because she did not need the negativity that came in response to it.
Ms Sherlcok continued: “It’s all becoming a little bizarre. Can she not see that she’s the author of the negativity in this story, not someone else?
“I wouldn’t defend anyone if they were offensive or abusive towards her in their replies but from what I’ve seen most people challenged her reasonably on what was a very distasteful tweet to start with from her.”