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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Repeal campaign ‘must change tone’ after abuse targets @Ireland Twitter account holder

Leaders in the so-called ‘repeal movement’ must stand up and condemn the orgy of abuse directed at a young American visitor who was approved to curate the @Ireland Twitter account, a pro-life campaign group has said.

The @Ireland account is a Twitter account that is curated each week by a different guest.

Maria Oswalt, 23, has recently come to Ireland to visit her boyfriend, and has expressed pro-life views in the past but has tweeted nothing about the forthcoming referendum, according to Save the 8th.

The pro-life campaign group claimed that repeal campaigners stalked her social media accounts in an attempt to find out her views on abortion, and then subjected her to a sustained campaign of vicious bullying and abuse. She has been repeatedly told that she is ‘not welcome’ in Ireland and that she should go home.

“These vicious attacks on a young woman for holding a private opinion are an example of the very worst of what this campaign could become,” said Niamh Ui Bhriain, of Save the 8th.

“Repeal supporters, who have no problem with Amnesty Ireland taking illegal donations from an American billionaire, spent most of yesterday abusing a 23 year old for holding private views, bizarrely finding and posting information about her family, and telling her to go home to her own country. This is not just creepy, it’s nasty and vicious,” she added.

Ms Ui Bhriain labelled the ‘repeal movement’ “out of control”, and warned it was becoming “actively dangerous”.

“A few months ago, pro-life meetings were forcibly cancelled after hotel owners received threats of violence from repeal campaigners. Before that, posters were ripped down and those who did that posted videos of themselves committing the act on the internet. What does it say about us that we have now reached the point where tourists are being attacked and told to leave the country for having a private opinion?” Ms Ui Bhriain asked.

She also pointed her finger at the media, claiming that it has been complicit in the “atmosphere of utter hysteria”.

“Repeal’s spokeswoman announced her joy at the death of a TD, without the remotest fear of condemnation from a journalist or news outlet,” she said. “Now our country’s reputation for kindness and decency is being traduced, and the hysteria continues to grow. It is but a matter of time until somebody is physically hurt. It has to stop.

“There is a lot of talk about a reasoned and respectful campaign, but one only needs to read the comments towards this girl to know that there is no reason or respect for those of us who have concerns about the introduction of abortion in Ireland,” she added.

“It is incumbent on the leaders of the repeal campaign to call off the dogs. And it is incumbent on the media to hold them to account if they do not.”

Picture: A pro-life supporter. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, EPA).