Monday 9 December 2019

Eight TDs attend private meeting to discuss opposition to Micheal Martin’s abortion stance

Leader: Micheal Martin. Photo: PA
Leader: Micheal Martin. Photo: PA

Shona Murray

A “splinter group” in the Fianna Fail Parliamentary Party met in private tonight to discuss their opposition to Micheal Martin’s revised stance on abortion.

The meeting was organised by Carlow-Kilkenny TD Bobby Aylward and sources say there were at least eight TDs in total present.

Mr Aylward says he was “satisfied” with the turnout and there was a “gender balance” in the room although it wasn’t 50:50.

He sent an email to all Oireachtas members of the party inviting them to attend last night.

He said 18 people responded saying they would have liked to attend but couldn't.

"We had an open and frank discussion about our position in the parliamentary party", he told reporters after the meeting.

"A lot felt that we weren’t getting a fair opportunity to get our message across – the pro-life side, to retain and not repeal the Eighth Amendment," he said.

He explained that the group believes that the pro-life side doesn't receive as much attention because front bench speakers "like Billy Kelleher - our spokesperson on health, Lisa Chambers and Timmy Dooley" are high profile.

"And then to top it off you have Micheal Martin himself with his statement last Thursday evening coming out as pro-choice", he said.

"Our point of view is that they have the advantage because they’re in the top echelons of the party and we want to get a balance, which is why we got together.

"So we decided that we would now raise this matter at the parliamentary party meeting tomorrow night," he said.

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