Friday 2 December 2016

Cabinet reaches agreement on contentious abortion bill

Published 25/10/2016 | 12:17

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald at the head of the Cabinet table for its first meeting. Picture Credit: MAXWELLPHOTOGRAPHY.IE
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald at the head of the Cabinet table for its first meeting. Picture Credit: MAXWELLPHOTOGRAPHY.IE

The Cabinet has reached agreement on the issue of this week’s bill on abortion.

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As part of the compromise, the Government will put forward a “reasoned amendment” to the bill being proposed by left wing TDs Ruth Coppinger and Bríd Smith.

This will see the bill being rejected with the Independent Alliance siding with Fine Gael.

Sources say at today’s Cabinet meeting, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stood firm that there would be no free vote on the bill when it comes before the Dáil on Thursday.

The compromise will ensure that a row between Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance is avoided.

The Coppinger/Smith bill proposes to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which gives equal status to the rights of the mother and the unborn.

In a statement, a Government spokesperson noted that there are “differing views within the Government” on the issue of the Eighth Amendment.

"The Government is moving this Reasoned Amendment because this Bill pre-empts the work of the Citizens’ Assembly, the agreed, independent process set out in the Programme for Partnership Government for dealing with this issue and approved by both the Dáil and Seanad,” the statement said.

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