Tuesday 25 September 2018

Taoiseach to outline personal position on abortion when referendum wording is published

Leo Varadkar said ministers, backbenchers and senators will be free to campaign for or against any reform of the limitations on abortion
Leo Varadkar said ministers, backbenchers and senators will be free to campaign for or against any reform of the limitations on abortion

Shona Murray

The Taoiseach says he’ll outline his personal position on allowing unrestricted access to abortion for up to 12 weeks as soon as the proposed wording of the referendum in published.

“What I've said consistently is that I'll give my view when I know what the wording is”, he told reporters in Strasbourg today.

“I appreciate some people have decided to say how they will vote without having see the wording. I'm a little more cautious, I'd actually like to sit down and see the question in black and white, to know what the question is, before I vote” he said.

This is likely to happen next month, according to government sources.

The majority of TD’s and Senators have stated their intentions on how they'll vote on recommendations by the Oireachtas Committee on abortion to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Mr Varadkar has been criticised by opposition TD’s including Fianna Fail spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher for not showing leadership on the matter due to his unwillingness to state publicly how he intends to vote.

He denied reports speculating that he would wait until March to do so.

“Well first of all I don't think it'll be March”

“But I think we'll have the wording quite soon, and I don't think it's going to take until March to do that. And I'll be happy to give my opinion at that stage.”

“But I also think part of leadership is listening, and I did want to listen to the views of cabinet, I wanted to listen to my parliamentary party and their views, I listened to their views for 5 and a half hours, and I'm paying attention to the debate that's now happening in the Dáil and Seanad.

So having listened, I will lead.”

The referendum is due to take place in May or June of this year.

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