The Health Minister says it's unacceptable that anti-abortion campaigners are continuing to protest outside maternity hospitals.
The Rotunda was forced to tweet last week to warn women that graphic images were on display outside that they may find distressing.
To anyone entering or leaving the Hospital, a warning that there is an anti-abortion group adjacent to the front entrance, displaying posters that may be distressing. Gardai have been notified. Please be mindful in the area.
— The Rotunda Hospital (@RotundaHospital) June 13, 2018
Health Minister Simon Harris today said that these protests are completely unacceptable, noting that it's 'worrying' such demonstrations are continuing after the Eighth Amendment vote.
He confirmed that he's working on legislating for exclusion zones around hospitals and doctors surgeries to prevent people being intimidated.
Speaking today, he observed: "I think it's regrettable that you need to actually have a law in this country to make sure that women attending our maternity hospital, and staff working there, don't have to be subjected to offensive images."
Confirming that work to consider introducing exclusion zones is under way, the Health Minister added: "I think what exclusion zones have to be about is sending out an important message that pregnant women and healthcare professionals have an absolute right to go about seeking healthcare and providing healthcare, without that being disrupted through imagery that is offensive and upsetting."
The National Women's Council of Ireland is keen to see such zones, with its Director Orla O'Connor explaining: "We will be closely looking at things like exclusion zones, so that there's no intimidation of women in accessing services wherever they access them."
Minister Harris says he'll be seeking advice from other countries with experience in the matter to ensure the zones are in place when services begin next year.