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Kenny wants abortion law passed by summer as tensions mount

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny says he would like to see abortion legislation passed by the summer - but he admits he can't be definite about this to timescale.

Tensions are rising between Fine Gael and the Labour Party about the drafting of the legislation.

Mr Kenny said he is going to ask Health Minister Dr James Reilly for a progress report on the drafting of the legislation at this morning's Cabinet meeting.

Heading into Government Buildings for the meeting, Mr Kenny said he "would like to see" the legislation passed by the Summer.

He believes this is possible without placing anyone under undue pressure.

However, he admits he can't be definite about this timeframe.

Justice Minister, Alan Shatter says Govt must ensure that "unreal barriers are not erected" in abortion legislation.

Fine Gael and the Labour Party remain at loggerheads over the number of doctors that will be needed to approve an abortion where there is a threat of suicide.

Despite Dr James Reilly’s apparent denial, the Irish Independent understands there was a proposal to have as many as six consultants involved in such cases.

The Cabinet will discuss the abortion legislation this morning, but agreement on a final draft is not expected.

A number of sensitive areas remain to be resolved around providing for the threat suicide as grounds for having an abortion.

Government sources say there is “no agreement” on what will be in the legislation, but the situation was constantly changing.

Fine Gael did table a plan to have six consultants involved in a decision on the suicide grounds.

“There is no draft on the table yet. The concept there might be six doctors involved, it was certainly proposed. The reports were not inaccurate.

“Reilly chose his words very carefully. I don’t think he was inaccurate,” a source said.

The dispute between the parties remains about the test to be in place where there is a suicide risk.

“It is very clearly laid on in the X case judgement – substantial risk to the life of a mother. It’s not a legislative decision, it’s a medical decision.”

Online Editors