Sinn Fein may not address 12 week issue before May vote
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she does not know when her party will be able to outline what it wants to to replace the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution because she cannot say when it will hold its next ard fheis.
However, Ms McDonald said this will not stop Sinn Féin vigorously campaigning for repeal in the Abortion referendum.
Party policy currently does not allow for unrestricted access to abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. It will need to hold an ard fheis so party members can vote on the party’s position on the 12 week issue.
Ms McDonald today said it was fitting that the government would be publishing the proposed wording for the referendum today as it is International Women’s Day and said she was anxious for the matter to be debated in the Dáil.
“If additional sitting days and additional hours are required we will absolutely facilitate that. Lets face it, in other scenarios when it was deemed an emergency matter this house could sit all night. So I believe we can find the necessary time for debate. I am informed we need 48 hours debating time.
“We are very anxious that timelines allow for sufficient debate but also that there isn’t any further delay so that we can meet the late May deadline for the referendum debate.”
She said the party would have an ard fheis in the coming months but said she did not know if that could take place before the May vote for logistical reasons.
“In the absence of a repeal of the Eighth Amendment a pre-emptive discussion about legislation actually becomes academic. For us to legislate and create a new regulatory system, we first need to get the Eighth Amendment out of the Constitution.
“I think we have set out the broad parameters of our current thinking and I do accept that there are outstanding issues that I will have to bring back to an Ard Deis.”