Irish Independent Senator Rónán Mullen has found himself at the center of an abortion spat after allegedly coming across as "nasty" and "smirking" at a meeting between politicians and abortion mothers at Ireland's parliament, Leinster House.
The Senator has been struck by a whiplash reaction to his allegedly snide demeanor at the meeting attended by over 20 public representatives , including the hacking of his website on Saturday evening and a spate of further online abuse from other mothers similarly aggrieved by how the Senator 'came across' at the round-table discussions.
One mother has claimed that Mullen asked her - twice - what her 'agenda' was in coming to the meeting, a claim the Senator has strenuously denied, while the 'smirking' allegation was leveled at the Senator by a number of those in attendance.
The mothers - all of whom had traveled out of the State to have abortions because they had been told that their babies would, according to medical opinion, be born in conditions 'incompatible with life' - sought the meeting to raise awareness of the 'X case', a 20 year old Supreme Court ruling that has yet been legislated upon by successive governments.
No such legislation has been forthcoming, however, and pressure groups such as the one that visited Mullen and the other public representatives have kept up a dogged fight to maintain the issue in the public consciousness for as long as the X case ruling remains ignored.
Senator Mullen, however, is a longtime stalwart of the pro-life camp, and outlined his views in a series of media comments over the past few days.
He hit back at the visiting mothers in comment to the Irish Independent, however, accusing of hijacking their own sad circumstances to pursue a much wider 'abortion agenda' than they were presenting to the representatives with whom they met.
"I strongly support the establishment of facilities to support women and families in this tragic situation.
"[But] I do regret any attempt by various lobbying groups to use such sad cases to pursue a much wider abortion agenda," the Senator told the Republic's largest circulating daily.
Barring the personal abuse meted out to Senator Mullen, however, the lobbyists reported a 'positive encounter' at the Dáil and felt that their views had been listened to.
A statement from the group read that they found the politicians' reception 'very positive', adding that their stories were 'listened to by all present'.