A pro-lifer who was ousted as president of the students’ union at University College Dublin has described how online activists made “physical threats” and called for her to die.

Katie Ascough, who was impeached last month, said that despite the “scary” climate of debate pro-lifers had to continue to speak up and not “tiptoe around” the issue.

In an article for the Irish Times she wrote: “To those who are anti-abortion, I urge you to be confident, brave and unafraid. It can be scary – trust me, I know. But please, for the sake of our country, do not tiptoe around this issue because you’re concerned about what other people might think. Thought-policing smothers true debate and is one of the biggest threats to a free democracy. We give in to it when we allow ourselves to be silenced.”

She described how the bullying started as soon as she ran for student president and was billed as the “girl with the draconian anti-abortion views”.

“I ignored the holes punched in my posters and the tweets calling for my demise,” she said.

The abuse later returned during a row over abortion information contained in student guides.

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