Thursday 24 May 2018

Where the parties stand on the Eighth

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar may be backing proposals that would allow unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks if the referendum passes, but he can't yet say a majority of Fine Gael's 50 TDs support the plan.

Twenty-one have publicly expressed their support for such legislation, but 11 are against and 18 remain undeclared. The party has a free vote on abortion issues and there is a majority supporting repeal of the Eighth Amendment with 31 in favour, six against and 13 undeclared.

Fianna Fáil also has a free vote but despite leader Micheál Martin backing the 12-week proposal, 34 of the party's 45 TDs are against it with just eight in favour.

Sinn Féin does not currently support abortion without restriction.

Twenty-one of the party's 23 TDs favour repeal and Sinn Féin has indicated it will hold a special ard fheis to consider the 12-week issue.

All Labour, Green Party, Social Democrats and Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs support both repeal and 12 weeks.

The Independent Alliance is split on both issues and the views of other Independents range from the strongly pro-choice minister Katherine Zappone to the ardently pro-life Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath.

Irish Independent

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