Saturday 18 August 2018

Striking the right tone is crucial in Eighth debate

Now the Irish people know what they're being asked, campaigners should ease up on the melodrama, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Decision: The Supreme Court ruling last week allowed the Cabinet to confirm the wording of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment
Decision: The Supreme Court ruling last week allowed the Cabinet to confirm the wording of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment

Eilis O'Hanlon

Last week, the Taoiseach ticked a few more items off his To Do list. Thursday's special Cabinet meeting was finally able to rubber-stamp the wording for the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment, following the Supreme Court's ruling in a separate case that unborn children do not have rights in the Constitution beyond the right to life.

The main policy paper, outlining the key points that will be included in subsequent legislation, was also approved. As a result, Minister for Health Simon Harris was free to bring the 36th Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018 to the Dail on Friday for a Second Stage reading and debate.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who was the first in the Dail on Friday to express his outright opposition to the Bill, opened his remarks by accusing the Government of a "mad rush" towards May 25 as the preferred referendum date when there was still no clear indication how proposed abortion services will be provided and by whom.

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