Pro-life protestors making Josepha Madigan 'the target' of their ire over referendum defeat

The Culture Minister Josepha Madigan has expressed disappointment after pro-life protesters forced the relocation of a talk she was due to give to a Catholic group.

The event, organised by We Are Church, was due to take place at the Mercy International Centre in Dublin next month.

However, the centre cancelled the booking when it received dozens of calls threatening to hold a major protest.

The Mercy International Centre said it risked "grave reputational damage" if the meeting went ahead.

It claimed the representations ranged from vigorous to vitriolic, and at least one staff member was intimidated.

The venue for the meeting has now been moved to a south Dublin hotel.

Minister Madigan, meanwhile, said: “It is truly disappointing that Mercy International Centre has been targeted in this way when the subject matter of the evening is in relation to the role of women in ministries in the Catholic Church, an issue entirely separate to my role as campaign coordinator in repealing the eighth amendment."

We Are Church spokesperson Colm Holmes said the protesters were angry about Ms Madigan's role in the campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment.

Mr Holmes said: "We think it's disappointing the way they are victimising the Minister for what she did, because she is, in fact, a practising Catholic and a very committed Catholic in her own right.

"If she were not, I think they'd be less interested in her, but they are focusing on her and making her the target of their ire that the referendum was lost.

"They're right-wing supporters of a very traditionalist Catholic Church, we have seen a lot of online comments about that, but we can't say for certain who the people are who wage this campaign."

We Are Church is a group that says it is working towards the 'renewal' of the Catholic Church, with aims including "full participation of women in all aspects of church life, including priesthood".

Last year, Minister Madigan made headlines when she and other parishioners stepped in to perform the majority of a mass in Dublin after a priest failed to show.

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