HEALTH Minister James Reilly says he hopes a limited ban on abortion will become law by the summer.
Dr Reilly was speaking after he was presented with the Oireachtas Health Committee report on its abortion hearings from earlier this month.
The report did not make any recommendations, but it will consider the heads of the abortion bill when it is published by the Government.
The minister said a memo on policy issues around abortion will go to Cabinet next week, and he hopes whatever the Government decides will become law by the Dail summer recess.
"The department are working very hard to expedite this," Dr Reilly said yesterday. "There's a memo going to Government next week on the policy issues that have been raised."
The heads of the bill, effectively a first draft, will be ready by Easter.
"I think in an ideal world that's what I'd like to see, but I mean I can't foresee all the difficulties and potholes along the road between here and there."
Meanwhile, former junior health minister Roisin Shortall has claimed Dr Reilly appointed his "own man" as head of the HSE.
In her latest sideswipe at Dr Reilly, Ms Shortall was referring to Tony O'Brien, who replaced Cathal Magee as head of the HSE.
She claimed this was "wrong". "But, of course, a pattern has been developing," she added.