Labour happy with support and turnout
LABOUR has expressed satisfaction that all of its TDs have backed the abortion bill – with only former party member Colm Keaveney voting against.
The Galway East TD resigned as party chairman and as a party member last week in protest at Labour policies. But all the remaining 33 Labour TDs in the parliamentary party voted in favour of the bill – with four other TDs who lost the whip also backing it.
A Labour source expressed satisfaction that all party TDs had been present to support the bill – which will fulfil a longstanding Labour policy of legislating for the 1992 Supreme Court judgment allowing for abortion in the case of a suicidal rape victim.
The Labour source contrasted the lack of defections with other controversial votes during the lifetime of the Government – which have led to five Labour TDs and one senator losing the party whip. "It's great not to be in the line of fire for once," the source said.
All Labour TDs had been told that they were required to be present in the Dail and that no absences would be tolerated.
The abortion bill was also supported by former Labour Junior Minister Roisin Shortall, Tommy Broughan, Willie Penrose, and Patrick Nulty, all of whom had lost the Labour party whip since going into Government.
Mr Nulty quit Labour last month, while Ms Shortall's support had been considered doubtful after she called for a "sunset clause" in the bill so that it could be ended if there was a rise in abortions due to the inclusion of suicide as a ground.