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Saturday 20 January 2018

Five FF TDs vote against government on abortion referendum

Five FF TDs vote against government on abortion referendum Photo: PA
Five FF TDs vote against government on abortion referendum Photo: PA
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Five Fianna Fáil TDs voted against a government motion blocking an attempt by AAA-PBP to force referendum on the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

The bill placed by the Dáil by Ruth Coppinger and Bríd Smith proved highly decisive during a vote on Tuesday night.

Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance compromised to put down a ‘reasoned amendment’ which would prevent the bill being voted on today.

And this afternoon the amendment was approved by 96 votes to 47.

The majority of Fianna Fáil TDs backed the Government on the issue but Billy Kelleher, Niall Collins, Lisa Chambers, Fiona O’Loughlin and Timmy Dooley went against them.

There will be no consequences for the TDs as Micheál Martin had given them a free vote on the issue.

Fianna Fáil’s Michael Moynihan and Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan abstained.

The Government argued during Tuesday night’s debate that the Citizens’ Assembly, which sat for the first time earlier this month, should be allowed do its work.

The 99 member forum is due to debate whether changes should be made to the section of the constitution which gives equal rights to a mother and her unborn child.

The Independent Alliance, who had originally demanded a free vote on today’s bill, have been assured by Fine Gael that the Assembly will report back with a recommendation in the first half of next year.

A cross-party committee will then review their work meaning it will be at least 2018 before the Dáil considers whether to have a referendum.

Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, the Green Party and the Social Democrats voted with the AAA-PBP motion.

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