Taoiseach rules out surrogacy laws before the election
Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed the Government will not introduce surrogacy legislation before the next general election as the issue continued to dominate the referendum debate in the final days of the campaign.
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.
There is currently is no legislation governing surrogacy.
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 this week revealed the new laws could see couples seeking to have a child through surrogacy forced to go before the courts to receive permission.
Government sources said time was needed to formulate "tight legislation" on what could be another controversial issue when it is debated.
The Referendum Commission said tomorrow's vote was not about surrogacy or adoption.
However, the commission's chairman, Justice Kevin Cross, said a Yes vote would mean same-sex and opposite-sex couples would have equal access to surrogacy, if it is passed into law, unless it could be proven otherwise.
"If the Government legislate to allow surrogacy, same-sex and opposite-sex couples would have the same access to surrogacy unless it is shown there is a rational basis for any differentiation," Justice Cross said.
The No side have insisted this means children will not have an automatic right to a mother and a father if the referendum is passed.
The Yes camp has insisted this is not the case.