Saturday 24 August 2019

Final Results

Repeal the Eighth Amendment?

Yes 66.40% 1,429,981

No 33.60% 723,632

  • Constituencies declared: 40/40

Referendum Hub

How snow storm could hit timing of abortion referendum

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Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The referendum on the Eighth Amendment could be an unexpected victim of the snow storm.

Government officials had anticipated the Supreme Court would sit tomorrow to issue its judgment on a contentious case over exactly what rights an unborn child has in the Constitution.

However, with the courts in Dublin closed due to the Status Red weather warning, a ruling will not be delivered until next week at the earliest.

Health Minister Simon Harris is due to bring the exact wording of the referendum to the Cabinet on Tuesday before introducing it in the Dáil. The timing coincides with International Women's Day, although the Government has denied this has been done on purpose.

Without a court ruling this week, the Attorney General is unlikely to be able to sign-off on the wording in time for the Cabinet meeting.

Seven judges have to decide whether to uphold a High Court decision last summer that ruled for the first time that the unborn has rights in law beyond the constitutionally protected right to life.

Lawyers for the State have sought to overturn the judgment - but if they fail it will have major implications for the minister's timeline.

The Government is confident of winning the case.

However, sources said ministers are concerned a delay to the case due to the storm could knock the timeline off course.

Mr Harris is understood to be looking at the possibility of asking the Taoiseach to convene a special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday or Thursday of next week if necessary.

He is keen to get the referendum bill debated in the Dáil before TDs break for the St Patrick's Day recess.

"If it doesn't happen before St Patrick's Day, there is a very short period before the Easter holidays," a source said.

The case centres on a case involving a Nigerian asylum seeker who took legal action in 2015 aimed at preventing his deportation based on the fact that his Irish partner was pregnant with his child.

Irish Independent

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