Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Pro-life Zealot denies website intimidation of health workers

This is the hardline Scottish vicar who led an online campaign to prevent abortion "being legalised" in Ulster.

Former Orangeman Jim Dowson - who was once linked to a loyalist flute band that was accused of glorifying Milltown murderer Michael Stone - urged his pro-life followers to bombard Health Minister Paul Goggins with protests against the publication of guidelines to deal with terminations.

Through his website, he urged an online war on abortion during the recent public consultation on the guidelines published after a lengthy legal battle by the Family Planning Association.

Previously, Mr Dowson's website has been accused of publishing details of sexual health workers that would enable people to harass them.

Among them was an NHS nurse who had won an award for her dedicated work.

His followers have also targeted schools which have provided sex education for teenagers.

Mr Dowson defends his stance of publishing details of sexual health workers by saying it is no different to a newspaper publishing the details of someone appearing before a court to answer criminal charges.

"I think that's nonsense (that his website could incite harassment). You read the newspaper every day of the week, you get people's names and addresses.

"I've been accused of invading people's privacy but I don't accept that at all. The words 'pot' and 'kettle' spring to mind."

Mr Dowson, who is based in Glasgow but who also operates out of premises in east Belfast, further denies reports linking him to tapes which glorified UFF killer Michael Stone.

And he says that he has been the victim of a series of "nonsense claims" .

He added: "Everyone's got a past and we have all done things that we are not particularly fond of."

Dismissing the tape, he added: "I was in a flute band that played music, that's it.

"Whatever happened to that tape after that, or whatever anyone put tributes on, or whatever (I don't know).

"I have played in a flute band like hundreds of thousands of other young fellas and I have no regrets about playing in a flute band. The type of atmosphere that brings out or is conducive to is unhelpful, and I think, in this time, I think you have got to move on."

He went on: "You will see that I am supposed to have a conviction for firearms and a conviction for some other thing, and I'm heavily covered in tattoos and all the rest of it.

"I have nothing of the kind. I've got a conviction for breach of the peace away back 20 years ago.

"I think (one newspaper) had me done . . . convicted with a car-load of Kalashnikovs, but this is the kind of madness and nonsense that is spouted out. It's not true."

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