Irish politicians who backed the recent change in abortion laws were told not to seek Holy Communion by members of the clergy.

The Sunday Independent
reports that several government representatives have confirmed they were ‘discouraged’ from receiving the sacrament.

They believe they were warned off seeking communion by priests angry at the government’s support for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

The paper says that a number of deputies, particularly in rural areas, said priests had warned them off from seeking Communion if they voted in favour of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

One deputy told the Sunday Independent: “I was approached by one priest recently and was told very clearly not to go to him looking for Communion that Sunday, as I would be refused.”

A large number of government deputies have also told the paper that they have been pilloried from the pulpit over their support for the legislation.

One Minister told the paper: “One priest was threatening all sorts from the pulpit one weekend.

“Excommunication, direct threats came about us receiving Communion. It was outrageous.”

However Martin Long, a spokesman for the Irish bishops, told the Sunday Independent that there had been no diktat about whether politicians should or should not receive Communion or whether they should be excommunicated.