Latest: TD believes present Govt not strong enough to legislate for abortion if country votes for repeal

Update 4.36pm: A Fine Gael TD believes the current minority government will face huge challenges if it tries to legislate for abortion after a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

Longford Westmeath TD Peter Burke claimed he will only support a repeal of the Eighth if there is an alternative text proposed which will give rights to the unborn.

Speaking to Shannonside radio, Deputy Burke claims that the current arrangement that has Fine Gael in power may not be strong enough to get legislation through the Oireachtas.

He said: "I think it would be fundamentally dishonest if a government goes to the country saying that we want to repeal the Eighth Amendment and we want to put this legislation in place for access to abortion up to 12 weeks, because the Government has not got a majority.

"If we look at the Sinn Féin position here on this, they are in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment, but they are not in favour of the report which recommends the access to 12 weeks.

"So who is going to put this legislation through the Dáil?"

Update 2.07pm: The Pro Life Campaign say they are confident the polls will change once more information about abortion gets through to people. 

An Irish Times poll this morning said only 29% of people are against repealing the Eighth Amendment and bringing in more liberal abortion laws. 

56% of voters said they were in favour of the change, with 15% undecided. 

Cora Sherlock, Pro Life Campaign.

Cora Sherlock from the Pro Life Campaign says she is confident that view will shift ahead of the abortion referendum.

She said: "When we hear more about families who have children saved by the Eighth because it is just something we haven't seen in the debate so far.

"I know from my own work with the Pro Life Movement, when the public become aware of those things it can be a message for them.

"When they see that there are children who are alive thanks to the Eighth Amendment - which is the reality then the have no interest in dismantling it." 

Update 12.07pm: Campaigns react to poll showing support for abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks

A leading Repeal the Eighth campaigner says they can't get complacent after the latest opinion poll.

It shows 56% of people are in favour of scrapping the Eighth Amendment and legislating for abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

29% of voters said they were against repeal.

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger says they need to build on the figures revealed by The Irish Times today.

"There is no room for complacency because the poll shows the absolute necessity to get young people out (to vote), and those in urban areas, to guarantee the referendum is passed," said Coppinger.

"For that to happen, May is the optimal time for maximum youth and student involvement."

Meanwhile, Cora Sherlock from the Pro Life Campaign says she feels opinion will start to shift as the debate goes on.

"I think what this poll shows is very similar to previous polls and it's not surprising because, in the last couple of weeks and days particularly, we've seen government ministers talking about the process.

"We haven't seen or heard from families who say their children are alive because of the Eighth Amendment. There are tens of thousands of those people all over Ireland.

"I think once their voices are heard, the polls will very much shift in a pro-life direction."

Original story (6.49am): 56% in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment and allowing abortion on request up to 12 weeks - poll

A majority of people are in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment and allowing abortion without restriction for up to 12 weeks, according to a new poll. 

The Irish Times/MRBI poll says 56% would be in favour of the move, with just 29% against. 

File image.

The poll suggests there is a clear majority of people in favour of repeal, with an almost 2-1 lead when undecided voters are discounted 

Support for repeal is strongest among younger voters, women and people living in Dublin. 

Almost one in five people said their views had changed on the matter in the last year and moved towards a more liberal system.

Reasons like thinking a woman has the right to choose, the news media and becoming more informed were cited for the changes of opinion.

The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday and in it almost 60% of people said they had reservations about the 12 weeks unrestricted access to abortions, but that it was a fair compromise

A special cabinet meeting on Monday is expected to sign off on the holding of a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

- Digital Desk

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