Friday 24 November 2017

Abortion bill is 'constitutionally sound' - Eamon Gilmore

Colm Kelpie in Beijing

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has said the Government is satisfied that the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is constitutionally sound after President Michael D.Higgins signed it into law.

In Beijing at the start of a four-day trade mission, Mr Gilmore described the legislation as robust, balanced and well thought out.

He said he was glad that it has now been signed into law.

"We were determined that this would not be the seventh government in a row to neglect to deal with this important issue," Mr Gilmore told the Irish Independent.

"We have now legislated for it. It was difficult, it was sensitive legislation but it is well thought out legislation and Im glad that it is now been signed into law by the president."

"The Government is satisfied that this legislation is constitutionally robust, it was very carefully prepared. It is of course open to anybody to challenge it, provided they can establish their case in the court."

Mr Gilmore also said that he and Taoiseach Enda Kenny are agreed on the target that must be met this year for the budget.

Mr Gilmore has said he believes that the Government should focus on meeting the target of cutting the budget deficit to 5.1pc of the value of the economy this year, as supposed to the once proposed plan for taking €3.1bn out of the economy by hiking taxes and cutting spending in October's budget.

Focusing on the 5.1pc target would theoretically give the government some leeway to ease up on austerity as it is ahead of its targets.

But Mr Kenny appeared to set himself on a collision course with Mr Gilmore when he told the MacGill summer school that he wanted to "finish the job" of cuts and taxes needed and claiming easing off now risks "jeopardising everything we have all worked for".

"We have a target that we have to reach and that is to get our deficit under 3pc by 2015," Mr Gilmore said.

"As a government we are determined to do that. We are not going to put our recovery at risk but neither are we going to pursue austerity measures for their own sake.

"There are some people out there who seem to think that we should do austerity for austerity's stake. I dont believe we should do that. I think we should do what is necessary in order to meet our target which is 5.1pc but I don't think we should do more than that."

"The Taoiseach and I are on the same page. The 5.1pc is the target, 3pc is the target for 2015.

"There have been no other targets."

Online Editors

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