Tuesday 27 September 2016

FF consider whether to back Kenny's abortion proposal

Published 02/12/2015 | 02:30

Party leader Micheál Martin and health spokesman Billy Kelleher (right) held 'preliminary discussions' last night to decide whether Fianna Fáil should take a stance on the issue. Picture: Mark Condren
Party leader Micheál Martin and health spokesman Billy Kelleher (right) held 'preliminary discussions' last night to decide whether Fianna Fáil should take a stance on the issue. Picture: Mark Condren

Fianna Fáil is to consider whether it will back Taoiseach Enda Kenny's plan for a constitutional convention on abortion or propose its own alternative ahead of the election.

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Party leader Micheál Martin and health spokesman Billy Kelleher held "preliminary discussions" last night to decide whether Fianna Fáil should take a stance on the issue.

TDs and senators have already been guaranteed a free vote in the event that any efforts are made to change the country's abortion laws, but until now the party had no plans to address the issue in its election manifesto.

A source told the Irish Independent it may still not feature in any pre-election promises but the party is likely to respond to Mr Kenny's idea in some form.

Frontbench TD Michael McGrath confirmed that discussions are being held but that they go beyond just the proposal of a constitutional convention.

"We do believe the issue is likely to be debated in some forum after the election and we are considering the options in that regard," he said.

Mr Martin and Mr Kelleher are to report back to the parliamentary party with their own recommendations as to whether they should endorse the Fine Gael approach or opt for an alternative, such as setting up an Oireachtas committee with special expertise or whether a judge could be appointed to carry out an independent examination.

However, regardless of the discussion, the party will not be advocating the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Irish Independent

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