Saturday 16 December 2017

'Some people think the life of the unborn is worth €1' - Leo Varadkar responds to AAA-PBP bill

Leo Varadkar
Photo: Gerry Mooney
Leo Varadkar Photo: Gerry Mooney
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

SOCIAL Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has said some of those involved in the debate around abortion and the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution believe the life of the unborn is worth €1.

Mr Varadkar’s comments were in reference to a bill put before the Dáil by Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith.

Ms Smith’s bill was aimed at reducing the penalty for having or assisting someone to have an abortion to a fine of €1, rather than face a lengthy prison sentence under current legislation.

Mr Varadkar said at one end of the abortion debate there are people who believe "everything is fine" and the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution should remain in place.

"At the other end you have people who think the life of the unborn is worth €1," he added.

"I think the vast majority of people in Ireland are somewhere in between and what the Constitutional Convention is trying to do now is to tease out what type of law we would bring into replace the Eighth Amendment."

Separately, Mr Varadkar said he "loves" the idea of Irish people around the world being able to vote for the President of Ireland.

"I can understand why people may not want it for parliamentary elections because the Dáil and the Seanad decide what our laws and taxes are, and if you don't live in the State, you are not bound by them," he said.

"The presidency is something different. I love the idea of the presidency being transformed into a presidency for the whole Irish nation, and we are a global nation," he added.

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