Creighton will get to have her say in debate
LUCINDA Creighton's request for more time on the abortion debate – so that she can speak on the issue after returning from EU business – has been granted.
The European Affairs Minister was concerned that she would not be able to speak in the opening rounds of the Dail debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill because she would be dealing with the final week of Ireland's EU presidency.
She asked Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe to extend the second-stage debate until Monday to allow her and other ministers speak. This was agreed.
Ms Creighton has yet to decide how she will vote.
The Dublin South-East TD said: "As I have said all along, I won't be taking any decision until we've gone through the parliamentary process. I will see how the committee stage goes."
Ms Creighton said she would not announce her final voting decision when she speaks on the second stage of the abortion bill in the Dail on Monday.
Speaking in Brussels, she said she still believed there was scope to improve the bill and that she was going to wait until it had reached its final stage in the Dail.
"I've always said throughout that I respect the parliamentary process and I don't think I that will pre-judge the legislation until the legislation is complete. And that means at the end of the committee stage," she said.
There is still uncertainty within Fine Gael about how Ms Creighton is going to vote.
She has previously expressed her concern about the inclusion of suicide as a grounds for abortion. Many Fine Gael TDs thinking of voting against it are waiting to see what position she takes.
In a speech at the Magill Summer School in 2010, Ms Creighton argued for the whip to be relaxed in certain circumstances and she said this was still her position.
At that time, she said: "In Ireland, the most stringent form of whip, the three-line whip is imposed for every single vote. This demonstrates to me a lack of confidence amongst political parties. It shows an immature democracy, which urgently needs to grow up to meet the needs of a mature people."