Thursday 25 December 2014

Shatter: 'Protection of life bill could have saved Savita'

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

Published 06/07/2013 | 12:01

Justice Minister Alan Shatter

JUSTICE MINISTER Alan Shatter has said if the protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill had been in force earlier it may be the case that Savita Halapannavar would not have lost her life.

Speaking at a consultative seminar on family law today, Minister Shatter said that the "very, very tragic case starkly illustrates the need for legislation" in the area.

Mr Shatter said that he has not seen any of his colleague Lucinda Creighton's amendments to the controversial bill and would not be drawn on her potential replacement as Minister of State if she votes against the bill next Wednesday night.

The European Affairs Minister is expected to vote against the bill, thereby losing her ministerial portfolio and her membership of the parliamentary party.

"Look, Lucinda is a very good friend of mine, she is a very diligent minster," said Mr Shatter.

"She has views on this issue, I don't wish to in anyway comment on what she may do or may not do when it comes to a vote, it is for her to make these decisions".

Asked how he felt about losing Ms Creighton as a colleague, the Minister said that it was unfortunate that Fine Gael should lose any colleagues on a matter of great importance.

"I would hope that Lucinda will support the legislation, support the Government approach to this issue and would respect the views of colleagues  across the parliamentary party".

"We operate as a party, she is part of the Fine Gael party and I hope she wouldn't step outside that".

Mr Shatter said the abortion bill and its potential fallout is being discussed within the Fine Gael parliamentary party extensively,  adding that there are a diversity of views within the party.

But Mr Shatter said that the Fine Gael party and the Government has an obligation to meet its legislative responsibilities.

Mr Shatter praised Ms Creighton's work as Minister of State for European affairs and said the State had benefitted from her work during Ireland's recent Presidency of the EU.

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