Taoiseach Enda Kenny has denied that there is a rift within the Fine Gael party on the issue of abortion.
His comments follows claims by the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar today that abortion should be allowed if there is significant risk to a woman's long-term physical health and not just in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.
The Taoiseach has promised a citizen's forum to discuss the issue, if Fine Gael is re-elected.
“Everybody is entitled to a personal opinion,” he told Radio Kerry today.
“I’ve set out the process which the Fine Gael party, if we’re elected to Government, will deal with this issue.
“The Minister for Health agrees with that process.”
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said that Fine Gael will not be using the General Election campaign to influence people's views on abortion.
“I think the Taoiseach has been very clear,” he said.
“This forum is going to take place and it isn’t going to be… we’re not seeking to influence through a General Election campaign.
“It’s very important that people get the chance to discuss this in a calm environment, not pushing people into camps as we’ve seen on this issue so much in the past, where people can’t have a rational discussion of the issues involved.”