Sunday 3 May 2015

Gilmore is facing backbench revolt on legislation motion

Fiach Kelly and Fionnan Sheahan

Published 19/11/2012 | 05:00

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore is facing a backbench rebellion over a contentious Dail motion on abortion this week, with some Labour TDs warning they may vote against the Government. Sinn Fein has tabled a motion calling on the Dail to legislate for abortion, and some Labour TDs are seriously considering supporting it.

The Government will reject the motion, and vote against it in the Dail on the basis that it is considering its position after receiving the report of the expert group on abortion last week.

Labour chairman Colm Keaveney is warning that the government response must not be "wishy-washy".

Mr Keaveney said there should be a clear "statement of intent" about how the Coalition will deal with abortion.

He also said "there is a lot of work to be done in the next 72 hours" to get the counter-motion right.

And Waterford Labour TD Ciara Conway says she may vote for the Sinn Fein motion if the Government's own motion is not strong enough.

Senior Labour figures last night said they feared other TDs may not support the Government in the vote unless the counter motion goes far enough to ease their concerns.

Ms Conway said she doesn't know how she will vote on Wednesday night, telling the Irish Independent: "I'll have to see the counter-motion before I make a decision.

"As soon as the private member's motion landed in my email on Friday, I was on the phone to the Tanaiste's office," Ms Conway added.

Tensions have also heightened within the Coalition after suggestions from Health Minister James Reilly that a decision on abortion may not be made until the new year.

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