Tuesday 27 June 2017

Leo Varadkar does U-turn on need for abortion referendum

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has ruled out the need for an abortion referendum.

Speaking at the launch of the Tourism Ireland marketing plans for 2013, he said he was “not a fan” of referenda and would not be calling for the public to vote on whether the procedure should be introduced.

His comments came after it emerged he had clashed with Taoiseach Enda Kenny over calls for a referendum at a heated meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.

Mr Varadkar said the Government shouldn't rule out a referendum on whether the threat of a woman's suicide should allow for abortion.

But Mr Kenny told the minister: “There will be no referendum”.

Mr Varadkar today said he would not discuss events at the meeting, saying they were held in private “for a reason,” but dismissed claims there had been a row.

“Fine Gael parliamentary party meetings are in camera for a reason. There certainly wasn’t a row, it was a very good meeting. Everybody gave their view. I’m haven’t and I’m not calling for an abortion referendum.”

The abortion issue took up an entire three-hour meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party in Leinster House last night.

Mr Kenny told TDs and senators they would not be given a free vote on any abortion proposals that came through the Oireachtas.

He said he wanted to make those two things "very, very clear".

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