Sunday 25 March 2018

'I'm not convinced that people are ready to pass a referendum on eighth amendment' - Katherine Zappone

Katherine Zappone Picture: Frank McGrath
Katherine Zappone Picture: Frank McGrath

Meadhbh McGrath

Children and Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone has said she believes the people of Ireland are not “ready” for a referendum on repealing the eighth amendment.

Speaking to RTE Radio One’s News at One, the Dublin South-West TD discussed her decision to vote against independent TD Mick Wallace’s bill to allow for abortions in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities.

“I have been an advocate as a feminist really for the past 30 years to change the constitution with regard to abortion,” she said, noting that she felt there is “way too much restriction on the legislation for women” in relation to terminations in this country.

“Having said that, I did study the bill very carefully. Obviously I listened to and accepted the advice of the attorney general.

“I talked to other legal advisers, I talked to medical professionals and concluded that it actually wouldn’t bring about the desired effect of the authors of the bill.”

She added that she still would have voted against the bill had she been in opposition.

When asked about the possibility of holding a referendum on the issue, Ms Zappone said she is “not convinced” that a vote would pass.

“I think to call one now - I’m not convinced yet that enough people are with us, especially those who are still to be persuaded, part pf middle Ireland, to say yes, they agree that there are various circumstances where women do, in very difficult circumstances, it’s the best and the most correct and ethical action to choose abortion," she said.

“I’m not convinced that our people are ready to pass that referendum, we need more time. I think the process of a Citizens’ Assembly is the best way to move in that direction.”

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