Monday 24 April 2017

Forget abortion vote – Seanad poll is dogfight facing Kenny

John Downing

John Downing

ENDA Kenny has waited over two years for his first big test as Taoiseach. Then, as so often happens, two tests came along at the same time.

Between now and the Leinster House summer holidays at the end of next month, the Taoiseach will be busy fighting two battles: putting through Ireland's first ever legislation on abortion; and laying the groundwork for the abolition of the Seanad. At the start of this year, the abortion issue appeared by far the more difficult of these two tasks, while ending the Seanad looked easy. But by now those positions have been reversed.

Yesterday morning just after 11 o'clock, Health Minister James Reilly got to his feet and presented the second-stage reading of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. The minister was strong and matter of fact in a speech clearly pitched at those within his own party who have misgivings about this legislation.

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