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Friday 18 April 2014

Toibin censured over abortion stand

Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin has stood down as chairman of the committee on investigations, oversight and petitions for breach of the party whip

A Sinn Fein TD who refused to toe the party line on abortion has been removed from an influential Oireachtas committee, it has been confirmed.

Peadar Toibin declined to sign a Sinn Fein motion calling for the government to legislate on the X Case and was absent for a crucial vote on the divisive issue last month.

In a statement Sinn Fein said the Meath West TD had been stood down as chairman of the committee on investigations, oversight and petitions for breach of the party whip.

Aengus O Snodaigh TD said: "The party whip applied and all Sinn Fein TDs were expected to be present and vote in accordance with the party position.

"Peadar stated that he did not wish to vote against his own party and so, took the decision to absent himself from the vote and has stated publicly that he understood that this was in breach of the party whip."

He will continue to act as the Sinn Fein spokesman on enterprise.

Mr Toibin TD said he was disappointed but could not compromise his strong views on abortion.

He said: "I am on record as accepting that my recent actions were in breach of the Sinn Fein whip and that I anticipated disciplinary action. I am obviously disappointed. I remain a Sinn Fein TD and am fully committed to the party."

The 20-year-old X Case relates to a suicidal teenage rape victim who was refused permission to travel to England for an abortion.

The Irish Supreme Court rejected the State's injunction and established the right to abortion where the mother's life is threatened, including by suicide; however it has never been confirmed in legislation.

Press Association

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