Yesterday, Colm Keaveney TD posted the following comments on his Facebook page:
“I understand that there is a protest occurring outside my office on Saturday concerning the legislation currently before the Dáil – the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. I have only recently learnt of the protest through the local media.
People have a right to protest, a right that I have exercised myself in the past, and they most certainly have a right to engage with their public representatives on this or any other matter. However, I will note that the group concerned, Galway Pro-Choice, have never made any effort to meet with me nor have they contacted my office to make their views known.”
He was talking about the Galway Pro Choice protest that we have scheduled for 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon outside his constituency office in Tuam.
Colm is mistaken in his statement that we never tried to contact him. At 12:30pm on Monday the 26th of November last, I rang him as a representative of Galway Pro Choice in an effort to get him to vote for the X Case bill that was at that time before the Oireachtas. He would not accept any of my representations and actually hung up on me. What follows is a record of the phone call that took place, which I wrote directly after the call occurred. I haven’t edited it since. No need to thank me for jogging your memory for you Colm!
Record of phone call between Rachel and Colm Keaveney, 12:30 Monday 26th November 2012:
- I told him I was representing Galway Pro Choice and asked him what
way he planned to vote on Wednesday.
- He said he planned to vote against it. He said he was waiting for the
expert group report to be published. Talked about following
‘government strategy’. Claimed bill was politicising the issue and
would be counterproductive. Said they had managed to bring along some
prolifers in Fine Gael. Said it was about persuading middle Ireland.
- I said middle Ireland was already way ahead of them on this. There
was huge public support for legislation on X.
- He said that this was the first government doing something about this
for 20 years.
- I said Labour had been in the previous governments that had done
nothing about it.
- Said that passing the bill would not mean legislation overnight, it
would have to go to committee etc, could take 8 or 9 months.
- I said does that mean there would be elements in the coalition
trying to obstruct the passage of the bill after it was voted for.
- He said no. He said it was naïve to expect that TDs would vote for
the bill and break the whip. At one point he asked me to hold on and
let him speak but then just repeated what he had said before about the
- I said that we had heard all this before, it was nothing new, there
had been four expert groups since 92 and it was just another example
of kicking the can down the road on this issue.
- He said it was naïve to expect that TDs would vote for the bill and
break the whip.
- I said that I didn’t think appealing to the conscience of public
representatives was naïve and it would be very cynical to believe
- He said I would be asking him to break the whip why would he do that
and go against government strategy.
- I said because women are dying in Irish hospitals. I said that
government strategy was just to produce report after report until
people stopped talking about the issue, that was government strategy
and everyone knows it.
- Got annoyed with me for not being in his constituency.
- I told him I was from a group that represented a lot of women in Galway.
- He said he also represented a lot of women in Galway.
- I told him about our huge increase in support over the last couple of
weeks, loads of new members, people signing our petitions in Shop
- He said angrily that Shop Street wasn’t in his constituency and I
should contact Derek Nolan. He said that this bill would be divisive
and counter-productive and make the whole process take longer.
- I said he was the one politicising the issue because there was no
good reason not to vote for the bill, only political considerations
were making him vote against it. I said there were a lot of very angry
people in Galway and many people specifically angry with Labour about
- He said this was exactly the kind of politicisation he was talking
about. He got even angrier and said that whoever was informing me
about how the political process worked was incorrect and I had been
misinformed and that I was being manipulated etc.
- I said ‘Excuse me..’ and then he hung up on me.