Government waits on abortion report

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has said it will be October before the Government considers a range of reforms on abortion law.

The Fine Gael Minister refused to be drawn on reports of a coalition rift with Labour over possible laws which would lift the ban.

An expert group has been appointed to consider the controversial issue and a report is expected to be ready with recommendations for the Cabinet in three months.

"The recommendations would cover a wide variety of actions. Let's wait and see what the expert group say," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"I think it's important to wait and see what these recommendations are and Cabinet will consider those recommendations when we receive them."

Minister Fitzgerald's plea came after Junior Minister Kathleen Lynch veered from the Coalition line yesterday when she said it was "fairly certain" that the expert group would recommend legislation for abortion in some circumstances.

The Labour TD, a Minister of State within the Department of Health, said there was no point in the Government appointing the group if it would not follow its suggestions.

Later, Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said he would not speculate on what the group would recommend and said the Government would have to wait and see.

Ms Fitzgerald made her remarks as she launched the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network, which was set up to support people working with grieving children and young people.

Based on a UK model, a hub will be created for those working with bereaved children, young people and their families and to allow easy access to high quality local and national information, guidance and support to enable children to manage grief.

It is estimated that 3,360 of 16-year-olds in 2011 may have experienced the death of one or both parents and a similar number have been bereaved of a sibling.

Between 36,000 and 60,000 Irish children could have experienced a significant bereavement.

Ms Fitzgerald also refused to be drawn into the widening debate on taxing child benefits.

She said taxing the universal payment among high earners was a budgetary matter that had yet to be discussed.

"We're in the middle of very complex Budget discussions at a department level at the moment," said Ms Fitzgerald.

"We haven't discussed the Budget decisions at Cabinet level yet. There will be a range of issues which will be discussed. Clearly I'm going to keep my opinions on the various options open to the Government until we discuss them at Cabinet level."


Related Articles

The Taoiseach has "got it wrong" over Templemore: PAC chairman

Junior minister says Garda Commissioner 'may well have to resign'

Mary Lou McDonald denies questions aimed at Garda Commissioner were 'sexist'

LIVE: Garda Commissioner: I take issue with being described a hostile witness

More in this Section

Simon Coveney: UK not giving 'credible answers' on future of Irish border

Johnny Healy-Rae wants GAA to allow nursing homes watch games for free

Bed share in Dublin goes for €250 a month

Latest: AA advises motorists to slow down as floods hit and temperatures set to drop


Today's Stories

Tánaiste under fire: Fitzgerald humiliated as Government makes fifth U-turn on McCabe

Mother tells inquest she ‘sensed’ tragic drowning

Tánaiste under fire: Annoyed Varadkar indicates this is one can he isn’t prepared to carry

Tánaiste under fire: TD details further effort to attack McCabe’s character

Lifestyle

Why you’ll never walk ALONE

Equal treatment is at the heart of a healthy society

'Riot days': Maria Alyokhina is fighting the power

More From The Irish Examiner