Sunday 18 February 2018

Abortion legislation 'unlikely' to pass without vote in Dail

Eamon Gilmore
Eamon Gilmore

Fiach Kelly and Caroline Crawford

THE prospect of allowing the abortion legislation to pass without a Dail vote is looking increasingly unlikely as opposition TDs line up to vote against the Government's proposals.

The possibility of there being no vote was mooted in recent weeks and Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said it was up to the opposition to call a vote when the legislation comes before the Dail.

Ten TDs need to specifically demand a vote, the absence of which would help Fine Gael and Sinn Fein to keep TDs on board and not lose the party whip.

A government source said it was still possible the legislation could pass without a vote, but it was looking unlikely.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin – who gave his TDs a free hand on the issue – has said he does think there needs to be a vote on the legislation.

And some of Mr Martin's TDs were likely to demand a Dail vote, having gained the concession of having the party whip dropped.

AMENDMENTS

Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath said: "It would not be representative of the wide views on this if it was allowed through on the nod.

"I sincerely believe there has to be a full vote," Mr McGrath said, adding he would be voting against the bill.

A number of anti-abortion Independents, such as Mattie McGrath, Tom Fleming and Michael Healy-Rae, are also likely to demand a vote.

And even TDs who are pro-abortion, such as Clare Daly and Joan Collins, could also demand a vote.

Ms Collins said she would be tabling amendments but would prefer a Dail vote.

Mr Gilmore yesterday said: "The issue of is there going to be a vote, is there not going to be a vote, that is decided by those who are opposed to the legislation."

Irish Independent

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