Wednesday 12 December 2018

Decision on abortion referendum expected on Monday, Varadkar says

On the fence: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hasn’t yet made his Eighth Amendment position clear. Photo: Finbar O'Rourke
On the fence: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hasn’t yet made his Eighth Amendment position clear. Photo: Finbar O'Rourke
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Cabinet will decide on Monday whether to proceed with a referendum to remove the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution that restricts abortion in most cases.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will set out his own position on the issue once agreement at Cabinet has been struck, he told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“We're having a special cabinet meeting on Monday evening, as you know we have a meeting every Tuesday morning but this is a very important issue and I don’t think it would be possible to shoehorn it into an agenda of 20 or 30 items and for that reason we are having a special meeting on Monday and I hope at that meeting the cabinet will agree to proceed with the referendum and also legislation and I’ll certainly give my views after that cabinet meeting if we have agreement at that cabinet meeting,” he said.

The Taoiseach has been criticised for not setting out his position earlier, but he said his role was different to other political leaders.

"On Monday evening, subsequent to there being agreement at cabinet I’ll be happy to make my views known on the referendum and the legislation thereafter.

"I’m in a difficult position, a different position perhaps to other people, I am Taoiseach so ultimately the question that we are putting to the Irish people has to be one that is sound and has to be one that the attorney general can endorse and also I want to as much as I can, respecting the fact that there is a free vote, but as much as I can bring my cabinet and my party with me and that’s important too."

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