'No' side trying to sow confusion in final hours before referendum - Coveney

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has warned that the No side are trying to sow confusion in the final hours before the abortion referendum by promising to address difficult pregnancies with new proposals.

Mr Coveney also admitted that his thoughts on abortion had changed after the work of the citizen's assembly on abortion and the process examining the constitution over the last two years.

He told the Dáil that he represented a "lot of men" and people in the country. There were men who believed that by retaining the Eighth Amendment that they were somehow protecting the unborn.

Tánaister Simon Coveney.

This was simply not true, declared the Tánaiste, when you heard the stories of women who had to travel or who were forced to "wander the streets of Birmingham for six hours".

Minister Coveney appealed for undecided or No voters to try and see that story "through the eyes of somebody close to them".


Speaking ahead of the vote tomorrow, Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty raised concerns about the No side suggesting proposals could be revisited instead of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

The Donegal TD said that the current regulations around abortion were “outdated” and “criminalises tragedy”.

The No side's claim was “patently untrue” and was a “tactic to sow confusion”.

Minister Coveney agreed, saying that if there had been an easy way to address hard pregnancy cases, such as rape or fatal foetal abnormalities, that “it would have been proposed over the last 35 years”, after the original introduction of the Eighth Amendment.

He said that Ireland would be “frozen in time” if there was a No vote in the referendum.

The No side's tactics were an attempt at “distraction and confusion,” said the minister.

The government were proceeding in the only way possible to “deal with this compassionately”, he added.

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