Saturday 21 April 2018

Halligan: FF would never hold referendum on Eighth Amendment

John Halligan has faced criticism over his stance Photo: Tom Burke
John Halligan has faced criticism over his stance Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Junior Minister John Halligan has defended his decision to help Fine Gael block a Dáil bill on repealing the Eighth Amendment, saying the alternative would be a Fianna Fáil government that would never hold a referendum.

The Independent Alliance TD, who has been vocal in his opposition to the Eighth Amendment, has faced criticism for compromising on the issue.

However, he has now said that the choice facing him and his colleagues in the Independent Alliance this week was "to vote with the Government or bring it down".

"What would happen if the Government was brought down on this issue? Well, by far the most likely outcome of a General Election would be a Fianna Fáil-led government, maybe even an FF majority.

"I know one thing for certain - there will never be a referendum on the Eighth Amendment with Fianna Fáil in power," he said.

His comments come as the Citizens' Assembly, which is considering potential changes to the section of the constitution which gives equal rights to a mother and her unborn child, invited submissions on the topic.

The assembly is chaired by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy and consists of 99 randomly selected citizens.

The assembly is due to report back to the Oireachtas within the first six months of next year and its recommendations will then be considered by a committee before ultimately the Dáil decides whether a referendum should be held in 2018.

Mr Halligan said: "You can't just decide to hold a constitutional referendum overnight - it needs to go through the proper processes. This is how you give it the best possible chance of success."

Irish Independent

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