FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin's support for abortion legislation was attacked by pro-life campaigners yesterday.
In his first public comments on the legislation since the draft heads of the bill were published, Mr Martin admitted achieving consensus in his party would be difficult. But the Fianna Fail leader said the legislation was "consistent with a pro-life position" as it was "restrictive".
However, the Iona Institute think-tank pointed to Mr Martin's past statements.
"When Micheal Martin was elected Fianna Fail leader, he spoke of the need to challenge the consensus when needed, but in agreeing to back the Government's abortion bill he is capitulating to the liberal consensus on the issue," a spokesman said.
"On several previous occasions, he said he did not favour legislation for abortion on the suicide ground."
The Pro-Life Campaign said Mr Martin's statement was "so far from the legal reality that it cannot go unchallenged".
The campaign's spokeswoman Caroline Simons said the bill couldn't be described as "pro-life" or "restrictive".