'Appropriate woman' should chair expert group on Eighth - Kenny
Published 24/02/2016 | 02:30
"An appropriate woman" should chair an expert group that would examine changes to the Eighth Amendment, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.
Fine Gael's preferred coalition partners, the Labour Party, have committed to a referendum on the repeal of the amendment if returned to government.
The Eighth Amendment acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and equates it with the mother's right to life.
Mr Kenny, who has been advocating a more cautious approach, was asked about the Labour's Party's pro-choice stance yesterday and if he could say there won't be full abortion in the next five years.
"I've made my views on this known. Clearly it's an issue that's divided Irish society for so long," he replied, adding that he wants a citizens' assembly to examine the issue of abortion.
"I struggle with this myself - I do. Our society has changed, it's values have changed.
"Courageous women have come forward to recount their experiences," Mr Kenny said.
He then referred to the Eighth Amendment, saying: "It has divided Irish society, polarised it on a number of occasions. I want this depoliticised," Mr Kenny said.
"I want a proper analysis and discussion, sensitive, dealing with the morality of it, the legality of it."
Mr Kenny mentioned an expert group "which I could expect would be chaired by an appropriate woman and work with the Oireachtas and all-party committee".
He said that, "if a consensus emerges from that", a referendum on its recommendations could be put to the Irish people.
"It is not as simple as saying change the Eighth Amendment, take out a bit of it, put something else back in," Mr Kenny said.
"If you want to reflect the changed values of a changed society then you have to have a consensus.
"I have no wish to politicise a matter as personal and as sensitive as this," Mr Kenny added.