| 5.6°C Dublin

Bruton's views put ministers on back foot

GOVERNMENT ministers were on the back foot yesterday after former Taoiseach John Bruton insisted there should be no legislation for the suicide grounds for abortion.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he didn't want to comment on his predecessor's intervention.

However, Mr Kenny did say the Government could not pick the elements of the Constitution it wants to deal with.

Writing in the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Bruton said he knew of no other area of law where a threat of suicide was "sufficient to make legal what would otherwise be illegal".

And he proposes an alternative way to handle the legislation, which does not involve catering for the suicide grounds.

European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton said she agreed with Mr Bruton's analysis. However, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Government was proceeding with the legislation.

"He's entitled to his views," he said. "It's a matter for the Dail and Seanad Eireann to debate the issue and to enact it if it sees fit. There is a requirement to legislate."

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, the former Taoiseach's brother, said he was not going to comment on "any intervention people choose to make".

Mr Kenny would not comment on his predecessor's Irish Independent article.

"I don't want to comment on individuals," Mr Kenny said after a meeting in Lisbon.

"It's important that people should wait and see what the heads of the bill actually mean and what they say before that goes to the committee for full comprehensive discussion and analysis."

Mr Kenny added the Government could not pick the elements of the Constitution it wants to deal with.

"I would say this though. The Government don't have the comfort of picking issues or items from the Constitution.

"As Taoiseach, I can only act with the Constitution that we have and that Constitution has been endorsed and voted upon by the people, and everything I have to do in the context of legislation has to deal with what is in the Constitution," he said.

Irish Independent