Peter Boylan 'pretty confident' abortion services will be in place by 2019 deadline

Peter Boylan 'pretty confident' abortion services will be in place by 2019 deadline

The man in charge of implementing abortion services here has said he is confident they will be available in Ireland by the beginning of next year.

The former master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dr Peter Boylan, is confident the January timeline set by Health Minister Simon Harris can be met.

Next weekend marks six months since Ireland voted to repeal the 8th Amendment.

Dr Boylan says plans are being put in place so that once legislation is passed, the rollout can take place as quickly as possible.

Dr Boylan said: "The HSE, in association with the Department of Health, all the hospitals across the country, the [Irish College of General Practitioners], the family planning clinics, the women's health clinics... have been doing a huge amount of work.

"[They're] drawing up guidelines, determining what the infrastructural, funding and staffing requirements are, and putting in place those needs."

He added: "It's a very tight timeline, I don't think there's any doubt about that - but I am pretty confident, yes, that it will be met."

Amid issues around doctors who are unwilling to provide abortion services, Dr Boylan noted: "My impression is that there are plenty of GPs spread around the country in order to provide a very satisfactory service right across the country - from Donegal right down to the south-west.

"I think some degree of travel is probably necessary, but that's the case in all countries... I think the important thing to understand is they won't have to travel outside the country.

"There's a 24-7 helpline which is being set up by the HSE in order to look after the needs of women, in terms of where they should attend and also any counselling needs they may have."

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