Taoiseach 'would anticipate' new abortion legislation by end of year if amendment repealed

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he thinks new abortion legislation could be in place by the end of the year if next week's referendum is passed.

Mr Varadkar has said he hopes all TDs and Senators will support the Government proposals if the people decide to remove the Eighth Amendment.

There is just one week left until polling day and the Taoiseach believes the referendum will be passed.

Mr Varadkar says, if it is, he wants to see new laws in place as soon as possible.

He said: "I'd anticipate that we would be able to have that legislation through the Dáil and Seanad before the end of the year, but bear in mind we don't have a majority as a government in the Dáil and the Seanad.

"Also, I don't think it is something that the Dáil or Seanad would want to rush."

"At the same time, I think that politicians will heed the views of the people - and if the referendum does pass next Friday, I think politicians will want to see that legislation come through and will cooperate.

"I know some TDs that are voting no: they have said to me that even though they are voting no, if people vote yes they will respect that and they will support the legislation".

He also said: "I do think we've to do a little bit of explaining around the 12 weeks - certainly it is not abortion on demand, it's not abortion without any restrictions."

"It won't be possible to go into the local pharmacy and buy abortion pills, that's not how it's going to work".

"Ultimately this is a proposal that's being put to the people - it's not about me, it's not about the Government - it's something that I'm campaigning for, something that I really want to see pass.

"It's something that I think will turn Ireland into a more caring, more compassionate country.

"But ultimately it's not about the Government or me, this is a decision for the Irish people - and I know they'll make the right one.

Asked if it would be a blow to Government if it does not pass, Mr Varadkar said: "It would, but that goes for so many things in politics.

In politics, the best yardstick is 'do the right thing' and I think this is the right thing.

"Maybe if there's a yes vote there'll be a boost for the Government, maybe if there's a no vote it'll be seen as a defeat for the Government.

"I don't think that really matters".

- Digital Desk

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