Wednesday 18 October 2017

Reilly expects legislation and guidelines to be in place by summer

Although there is no deadline attached to the passing of the legislation, Health Minister James Reilly said he expected it would be done by the summer, "if not before".

However, the Government will be progressing slowly to avoid any accusation that it is being rushed.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the legislation and regulations will be within the parameters of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.

"Therefore, it does include the question of suicide arising from the X Case, in cases where there is a threat to the life, as distinct to the health of the mother," he said.

The Government will also change the criminal law in the area. This is believed to be a reference to repealing the criminalisation of abortion under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.

The drafting of the legislation will begin in the new year, after a range of interested groups have been heard by an Oireachtas Committee.

Responsibility for the legislation will be held by Dr Reilly.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the next step would be the examination of the issue by the Oireachtas Health Committee in early January.

"It's 20 years now since the X Case judgment. There have been six governments in the intervening period of time. We have said clearly that this would not be the seventh government that has failed to act."

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