A former spokesman for the Archbishop of Dublin has been forced to apologise after distributing pro-life leaflets to primary school students.
Eddie Shaw is also facing calls to resign as head of the parents council at a well known Dublin school following the controversy. Shaw was spokesman for retired Dublin archbishop Cardinal Desmond Connell.
He is under fire after distributing leaflets to children at the Harold School in Glasthule promoting a Vigil for Life rally in Dublin.
Shaw, currently head of public relations at Carr Communications, apologised to the school parents’ association at a stormy meeting.
The Irish Times reports that minutes of the meeting state: “On Friday the 7th of June, a notice for a pro-life vigil was put in the bags of three classes. The leaflets were intended for every bag in the school but some teachers either chose not to put them in and others forgot.
“The leaflet highlighted a vigil taking place last weekend for the Pro-Life Campaign against the upcoming legislation on abortion. The parent body were outraged that the children were being used as vehicle to promote a controversial campaign.”
The Irish Times report includes interviews with parents angry at their children being used in this way.
One parent of a five-year-old revealed she was asked by the child what an abortion was and felt deeply annoyed to have been put in that position.
Parent Mark O’Driscoll said: “Mr Shaw told the meeting he should have put the leaflets in an envelope, which is to miss the point entirely. Mr Shaw’s apology was inadequate.”
The report says parent Davin Roche queried the role of school principal Anne Moore in distributing the leaflets, which he felt were ‘entirely age-inappropriate’.
The principal was unable to attend the meeting. Roche also said Shaw’s response at the meeting was ‘extremely poor’.
An anonymous parent described as ‘preposterous’ Shaw’s assertion at the meeting that his action wasn’t political and said his explanation lacked ‘all plausibility’.
The parent said: “Mr Shaw should not be chairman of the board of management. He is not fit to hold that position.”
Principal Moore was ‘not available’ to comment to The Irish Times on the matter and Shaw responded that the ‘issue is a matter for the school board’.