Dail extends abortion hearings after request from Creighton
EUROPEAN Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton has requested more Dail time be given over to the abortion debate so she make it back from EU business to speak on the contentious issue.
Ms Creighton has yet decide if she will support the controversial legislation.
However, she 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.
The Dail this morning agreed to Ms Creighton's request and will sit next Monday, earlier than the usual Tuesday start to the week.
The Dublin South East TD asked Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe to extend the second stage debate on the bill from this Thursday until Monday to allow her and other ministers speak.
"I requested that the debate be extended so ministers, myself included, who are tied up in negotiations connected to the presidency would have an opportunity to speak," she said.
However, she has yet to decide if she will support the bill.
"As I have said all along, I won't be taking any decision until we've gone through the parliamentary process," she added. "I will see how committee stage goes.".
In a speech at the Magill Summer School in 2010, Ms Creighton argued for the whip to be relaxed in certain circumstances and she says this is still her position.
At the time, she said: "In Ireland, however, 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.
"It also creates a fertile environment for mediocrity to flourish, where politicians are enabled and indeed encouraged to avoid individual accountability. The result of our entrenched and archaic party whip system is that our politicians can dodge personal responsibility for their own political decisions."