Friday 20 October 2017

TD Anne Ferris likely to lose her party whip as she is expected to vote in support of abortion bill

Anne Ferris TD
Anne Ferris TD

Daniel McConnell, Group Political Correspondent

Wicklow TD Anne Ferris is likely to lose her party whip as she is expected to vote against the Government and support a Bill calling for abortion to be allowed in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

Ms Ferris is due to appear on RTE Television’s Claire Byrne Live where she will make her views known.

By defying her party leader Joan Burton, Ms Ferris is set to become an Independent TD.

Earlier this evening, the party’s chairman Jack Wall said he was confident no Labour TD would ‘go overboard’.

Ms Burton’s spokesman too had said it was unlikely any TD would support the bill proposed by Independent TD Clare Daly.

The weekly meeting of the parliamentary Labour party has been brought forward from its usual Wednesday slot to tomorrow afternoon and TDs and senators will be briefed on legal advice from Attorney General Máire Whelan.

Ms Burton and Communications Minister Alex White are to brief the party on to why Ms Whelan considers Ms Daly’s bill to be unconstitutional.

Some Labour deputies, such as Clare’s Michael McNamara, Dublin Bay North’s Sean Kenny, Ms Ferris, Meath East’s Dominic Hannigan and Waterford’s Ciara Conway, have expressed unease about opposing the Bill, which will be put to a Dáil vote tomorrow.

There have also been requests for a free vote on the issue but this has been repeatedly ruled out by Tánaiste Joan Burton and her office.

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