Sunday 26 January 2020

Gilmore tells ministers to push Cabinet for action on abortion

Michael Brennan, Fiach Kelly and Katherine Donnelly

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has ordered Labour ministers to push for action on the controversial abortion issue despite his absence from Cabinet today.

And his party colleague, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, has warned there will be "consequences" for TDs who vote against the Government on the contentious issue.

The death of Savita Halappanavar has propelled the issue to the top of the political agenda and the Cabinet will today decide on the coalition response to a Sinn Fein motion calling for immediate legislation.

But Mr Gilmore will miss the key meeting as he is attending a crucial gathering of EU foreign affairs ministers in Brussels about agreeing the €1 trillion EU budget for 2014-2020.

A Labour source said its ministers were "very clear" about Mr Gilmore's desire to get legal clarity on abortions when a pregnant mother's life was at risk.

"We want a decision as quickly as possible," the source said.

Mr Gilmore wants Health Minister James Reilly to bring a recommendation to Cabinet next week when he delivers the long-awaited expert report.

So far, Dr Reilly has not given any such commitment and has suggested that a decision may not be made until the new year.

Many Fine Gael TDs are adamant they will not be rushed into a decision. There are fears that one Fine Gael TD, James Bannon, of Longford/Westmeath, may vote against the Government.

Dr Reilly has also played down any tension between himself and Labour ministers. But he admitted reaching a agreement wouldn't be easy.

Irish Independent

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