Wednesday 18 September 2019

Senior Fianna Fail TD calls for party whip on forthcoming abortion legislation

Barry Cowen. Photo: Tom Burke
Barry Cowen. Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Senior Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has called for a party whip on forthcoming abortion legislation.

Speaking at this evening’s parliamentary party meeting, Mr Cowen suggested members should vote as a party when legislation is put before the Dáil in the coming weeks.

Mr Cowen warned against political gamesmanship over the referendum result and said there should be no “back biting” following the vote.

The Offaly TD’s call follows a landslide victory for the Yes side in last week’s referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

The large majority of Fianna Fáil parliamentarians were  opposed to removing the Eighth Amendment.

However, most have said they are now willing to support abortion legislation following the emphatic vote in favour of abortion.

Earlier in the meeting, Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin, who supported repealing the Eighth, called for unity.

Mr Martin warned against infighting and said the party should heal any divisions caused by the referendum.

Sligo Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry is understood to have hit back at Mr Cowen and Mr Martin buy criticising the party’s leadership for not being more inclusive.

Mr MacSharry told the meeting that “unity comes from shared ownership” and asked that the party include all TDs and senators in decision making.

SUPPORT: Micheal Martin came out early to back repeal
SUPPORT: Micheal Martin came out early to back repeal

He said many TDs pledged to vote against abortion legislation before the last election and upheld that commitment during the referendum.

Mr MacSharry urged calm within the party and said there was no need to overact to the result.

Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue suggested that TDs and senators hold one-on-one meetings with Mr Martin.

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