Taoiseach Enda Kenny: No surrogacy legislation before next General Election
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has confirmed the Government will not introduce surrogacy legislation before the next General Election.
Speaking at Fine Gael’s final press conference of the Marriage Equality Referendum campaign, Mr Kenny insisted voting ‘Yes’ will not affect access to surrogacy in Ireland, which is currently unlegislated.
He admitted the area needed legislation but said the Government will not introduce laws on surrogacy before the next General Election as it a “complicated area” that requires further consultation.
However, he did commit to banning commercial surrogacy.
“There is a great deal of complex issues about this, where there will be a national discussion. There will not be legislation on this before the next General Election,” he said.
The Taoiseach would not commit to legislating for surrogacy if he led the next government, saying he will await the outcome of public consultation before making a decision.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar is currently preparing the heads of bill for future legislation, which will be published in the coming months.
The Irish Independent revealed the new laws could see couples seeking to have a child through surrogacy forced to go before the courts to receive permission.
Separately, Mr Kenny admitted there is a conservative element within Fine Gael who are not actively campaigning to pass the referendum.
“You always like to get a 150pc response from everybody - it’s difficult to get,” he said.
“The Fine Gael party has quite a number of members who would be very conservative. As I have said publicly before, I have travelled on a journey myself.
“What really stuck me was the power of the ordinary stories of ordinary people living their ordinary lives. How can you expect them to be the people they are if there is an inequality in our society,” he added.
Mr Kenny said he had “no intention of becoming a Gay icon”, when asked if his strong support for the referendum could see him being elevated to that status in the gay community.
He also rejected the suggestion schools run by religious orders will be forced to teach students about same sex marriage if the referendum is passed.
“We have absolute religious freedom here. The churches, irrespective of what church they are, have the absolute right to continue their teaching of their doctrine, their principles and their beliefs. Civil law is a separate matter and there may be questions asked in any school about what the civil law,” he said.