Minister declares position on abortion with veiled swipe on Tánaiste's stance
Jim Daly has become the latest minister to back a repeal of the Eighth Amendment and the proposal for unrestricted abortions up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.
The Junior Health minister also appears to take a swipe at Tánaiste Simon Coveney for his stance on abortion.
Mr Coveney supports repeal but not the 12 weeks proposal and is in favour of allowing terminations in cases of rape or where the mother's life is at risk.
In a statement today Mr Daly does not reference Mr Coveney directly.
But he said: "Simply calling for Repeal and abandoning the issue of what sort of a regime we create is not leadership.
"It is soft politics which fails to deal with the consequences of our acts."
The 12 weeks proposal was put forward by an Oireachtas Committee due to the difficulty of legislating for cases of rape and incest.
Other ministers and TDs have declared positions similar to Mr Coveney's.
A referendum on a repeal of the Eighth Amendment which effectively bans abortion is to take place at the end of May.
The 12-weeks proposal forms the basis of legislation that's being prepared if a repeal referendum is passed by the people and the Oireachtas will be voting on this at a later date.
In a statement today Mr Daly said: "There is no such thing as an ideal solution to the complex human social, moral and philosophical issue of abortion."
But he said it's a certainty that abortion is "an everyday reality in our society".
He said legislators have a duty of care to respond to the situation where thousands of women travel for terminations each year and thousands more buy abortion pills online.
Mr Daly said there's also a responsibility to provide clear solutions for cases for fatal foetal abnormality.
He asked if the State wants to continue to criminalise young girls using abortion pills or "do we want a law to be in place to allow these women with crisis pregnancies to be allowed to seek professional medical advice to talk through their options in a safe and caring environment."
He also said: "I believe making criminals of generations of young Irish girls has not served Irish women or Irish society well.
"We cannot, if we are to have any moral courage as a political class, pull the ladder up, retreat into the clouds and hope this issue goes away.
"The current unregulated abortion system poses a clear and present danger to tens of thousands of Irish women, " Mr Daly said.
He said he believes the Irish people want to repeal the Eighth Amendment but said that's the "easy part".
"Simply calling for Repeal and abandoning the issue of what sort of a regime we create is not leadership
"It is soft politics which fails to deal with the consequences of our acts.
"That is why I also support the Repeal the Eighth Committee’s recommendations on twelve weeks, on rape, on fatal foetal abnormality and the need for a GP led service," he said.
Mr Daly added: "Success in Irish politics, too often, has been defined by the capacity to disappear when a difficult issue approaches you in the corridor.
"That politics of turning the blind eye and of nod and wink has been the ruination of the country.
"We need politics with a spine not a soft underbelly."
Mr Daly said: "Abortion is not a perfect solution, and no-one chooses abortion easily. But, thousands of women and in some cases their partners do each year."
He said he is a practising Catholic but that he is also a leislator with a duty of care to serve all the people.
Mr Daly said the current proposals are "as close as we can come to a just solution" on the issue of abortion.