Thursday 19 April 2018

FG anger over bid to legislate for abortion

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

HEALTH Minister James Reilly faced firm threats last night from Fine Gael TDs that they would vote against the Government on any attempt to legislate for abortion.

In a heated debate at a meeting of Fine Gael TDs and senators, Dr Reilly was warned by a junior minister the issue could "rip the party apart".

He was told the biggest challenge ahead for the Coalition may be "not austerity but abortion" as the views of the Labour Party are so different.

Dr Reilly was forced to commit to consulting with Fine Gael backbenchers before any decision was made on what action the Government would take. A series of party TDs expressed concern about the minister's statement during a debate on abortion three months ago, when he said no action has been taken by six successive governments and added: "I assure members this will not be the seventh."

The Government has set up an advisory group, made up of medical and legal experts, to make recommendations on how to address the matter.

The expert group is tasked with making recommendations on implementing a European Court of Human Rights ruling on abortion against Ireland. Its report is due in September.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was not at the meeting. He was at the Bruce Springsteen concert later in the evening.

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Irish Independent

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