Cross-party support for speedy bill
There is cross-party support for the speedy passage of the referendum bill through the Oireachtas.
However, some TDs say they're concerned that TDs who are against repealing the Eighth Amendment may try to filibuster in order to thwart the strict deadline in place for a referendum to take place in May.
The Dáil and Seanad must debate and vote on the referendum bill but there are very few sitting days between now and the end of April due to St Patrick's Day and the Easter holidays.
Sources close to the Business Committee - which determines the agenda of the Dáil - also say they are conscious of ensuring there is a quorum of TDs at all times in the Dáil to ensure a debate can continue. A debate cannot continue without 10 TDs being present.
After today, the second stage of debate will take place on March 20 and will be allowed go on until midnight.
Other Business Committee sources say this awkward timeframe may be helpful in preventing obstruction.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin says it's unlikely it will hold a special ard fheis to vote on bringing its abortion policies in line with the Government's ahead of the referendum. As it stands, the party is calling for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment. But its implementation policy for abortion services is limited to instances of rape and incest.
The Government and the Oireachtas Committee on Abortion considered this, but said it was too complicated to legislate for, and didn't take in to account the unregulated supply of abortion pills circulating in Ireland which the legislation hopes to tackle.
Health Minister Simon Harris, meanwhile, said he intends to "campaign vigorously" for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
Ministers Richard Bruton, Josepha Madigan, Regina Doherty and Charlie Flanagan said they will do likewise.