Carol Nolan quits Sinn Fein after she opposed party's policy on abortion
CAROL Nolan has quit Sinn Féin after she opposed the party's policy on abortion.
Offaly TD Ms Nolan had been suspended from the party for three months after she voted against the holding of the abortion referendum.
Sinn Féin's policy was to support repealing the Eighth Amendment.
Ms Nolan has today handed in her resignation.
At the weekend Sinn Féin members at the party's ard fheis voted to amend its policy so that its TDs can support legislation allowing for abortion up to 12 weeks.
The party leadership can now to set policy on the issue “informed by the best available medical advice”.
A second motion calling for Sinn Féin TDs to have a free vote on abortion like Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil was heavily rejected.
Ms Nolan announced her resignation in a statement this afternoon.
She said: "I feel that as a pro-life republican woman that I no longer have a place in this party which doesn't recognise or show genuine respect for the pro-life views of members.
"It was disappointing that at the Ard Fheis which took place in Belfast at the weekend, the party's delegates voted against the motion to allow members to have a conscience vote on the issue of abortion."
Ms Nolan said she feels that it's "unethical to force TDs who are strongly opposed to abortion to vote against their conscience.
"Every TD in Leinster House is directly responsible for the laws that they enact, if a TD votes for abortion they are responsible for all abortions that happen in this state.
"I do not want to have any hand, act or part in bringing about the end to the life of an unborn child, the most vulnerable in our society."
She added: "It is not for politicians or society in general to decide who lives or dies.
"Every life is precious and every child deserves the chance to live."
Ms Nolan said she doesn't think abortion is the solution to any crisis, adding: "how can it be when it takes the right to life away from the unborn?
"I cannot and will not support abortion and for that reason I have made a decision to leave Sinn Fein."
She said she will continue to represent constituents as an Independent TD.
Her resignation brings the number of Sinn Féin TDs down to 22.
Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald said she regrets Ms Nolan's resignation saying it is "disappointing but not surprising".
Ms McDonald said: "Sinn Féin made every effort to give its members space and latitude to articulate a position contrary to the party’s position in the recent referendum campaign on Repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
“The people have spoken on this issue. The Sinn Féin Ard Fheis has democratically agreed the party’s position to support the forthcoming leglislation.”
Ms McDonald added: “I wish Carol and her family well.”
More to follow...