PR: Coveney refuses to meet constituents

Simon Coveney refuses to meet constituents: voters protest misleading website, non-existent clinics and shunning of Cork South Central constituents


21 March 2013

Pro-life constituents have demonstrated outside Minister Simon Coveney’s office for the second time in two weeks, holding posters reading messages saying ‘Keep Your Pro-Life Promise’, ‘I Vote Pro-life’ and Love Them Both - Abortion Kills one; Hurts Another’.

The action was prompted by the Minister's refusal to meet constituents who are concerned about the abortion proposals before the government.

"Although Simon Coveney claims to be pro-life, he has been quietly supporting the government’s abortion legislation since it was first announced," said Moira Lynch of the Cork Life Institute.

"Constituents are angry that Simon Coveney’s website claims that he holds constituency clinics and directs constituents to ring the office for details. On ringing his office, callers are informed that he does not, in fact, have clinics, and that Minister Coveney will not meet voters on the abortion issue," she said.

The Cork Life Institute is aware of more than 50 constituents who have been refused appointments with Simon Coveney to discuss pro-life issues. "They have been stone-walled at every turn, the mere possibility of making an appointment being postponed indefinitely each time. They were first told Minister Coveney was unavailable to meet until after Christmas 2012 and most recently that his diary was too full due to Ireland’s presidency of the EU – which runs until June 2013," said Moira Lynch. "This is unacceptable."

One constituent outside his office commented: "It is perplexing that a 'pro-life' TD would go against his own supposed pro-life convictions, fail to represent the majority of his pro-life constituents and be threatening to break his own party’s pre-election pro-life promise. To what end, is Simon Coveney doing this, one might ask? Is it that he is pro-abortion?". Even if this were the case, it is incumbent on him to represent his constituents."

"Simon Coveney has to know that he cannot follow such a course without losing a significant number of votes. There will be political consequences."

Moira Lynch said that there is already evidence of this. Successive polls in recent weeks have shown that support for Fine Gael has plummeted. This is strongly correlated with the government’s reaffirmation of its intention to steamroll abortion legislation by July, against the wishes of the Irish people.

In refusing to meet or represent his Cork South Central electorate, Simon Coveney is displaying utter arrogance and contempt for the very voters from whom his mandate derives.

An excerpt from the Oireachtas website:
“Deputies represent the entire electorate within their constituencies and provide an essential democratic link between constituents, Government and Parliament. Deputies hold regular advice clinics throughout their constituencies which enables constituents to meet them personally” underscores just how patently anti-democratic Simon Coveney’s actions are and his dereliction of duty vis a vis his constituents.

Politics is not always conducive to doing at once both what is politically astute and what is right. Minister Simon Coveney has an opportunity: in publicly opposing and voting against abortion legislation, he can do both - he can do what is right by protecting mothers and babies from the brutality of abortion, while simultaneously safeguarding his seat through fulfilling his duty to represent his constituents.

One constituent had a parting message: “We urge Minister Coveney, if he actually is pro-life, to have the courage of his convictions and to vote against abortion legislation. If he does this, we will rally round him. Otherwise, our campaign will be intensified."


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