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Varadkar says roll-out of abortion services among 'important milestones' in social progress


Varadkar said the Government was performing well (PA)

Varadkar said the Government was performing well (PA)

Varadkar said the Government was performing well (PA)

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has said the introduction of abortion services in Ireland is among “important milestones” in social progress being made in Ireland.

The remarks are contained in Mr Varadkar’s New Year’s Day statement.

He said: “As of today, abortion services in Ireland are legal.

“Approximately, 15 women decide to end their pregnancies every day.

“This week, they have over 150 doctors working in the community available and contracted to help them.

“Hospital based services for more complex cases will be phased in over the coming weeks.”

Mr Varadkar noted that a HSE helpline is now up and running for anyone who needs advice.

He added: “I believe this is one of the biggest social changes in our history.

“Women no longer have to leave the country to get the help they feel they need.”

Mr Varadkar listed the roll-out of abortion services among four important milestones he identified in the New Year message.

He listed the others as a rise in the minimum wage and fall in unemployment and poverty levels; the establishment of Technological University Dublin and the plans for the new Children’s Hospital.

He said the minimum wage has risen to €9.80 an hour, “its highest ever level”.

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Mr Varadkar said CSO figures show poverty has fallen for four years in a row adding: “we have much more yet to do” but credited the fall in unemployment as the main driver behind this.

He referenced plans for the establishment of a Technological University in the south-east and in Munster which he argued will enable students to stay in the region and will attract new industries and jobs.

He said that Children’s Hospital Ireland is coming into being, bringing together the three existing Children’s Hospitals in Dublin under a single board.

The planned hospital has been at the centre of controversy in recent weeks as costs spiral to more than €1.4bn.

Mr Varadkar said the hospitals are being integrated off-site before they move on site.

He said: “That move won't be complete until 2022 but it will start in summer 2019 with the opening of satellite Centre in Blanchardstown”.

A second satellite site in Tallaght is to open in 2020.

Mr Varadkar added: “I believe these four important milestones represent some of the social and economic progress we are making as a country.

“I look forward to building on that with my Government and Oireachtas colleagues in 2019.”

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