Abortion bill: Fianna Fáil quintet say backing it was ‘right thing’

Lisa Chambers (left): Supporting bill the right thing to do.

Fianna Fáil TDs who backed a Dáil bill for terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities say it was the “right thing to do” and that a “stick should not be held over” troubled parents.

But Mick Wallace, the TD whose proposals were defeated yesterday, has claimed the parliament overall does “not reflect” the views of the Irish people.

The controversial bill was defeated, with the Government reiterating that changes to abortion laws will be debated by a new assembly in the autumn.

While Fine Gael TDs were whipped into opposing the Independent TD’s proposals, five Fianna Fáil TDs supported it after that party was given a free vote. Niall Collins, Lisa Chambers, Timmy Dooley, Robert Troy, and Fiona O’Loughlin backed the bill to allow terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities. Other party deputies opposed it.

Niall Collins
Niall Collins

As expected, three ministers from the Independent Alliance supported the bill, after demanding they be allowed vote according to their conscience.

Transport Minister Shane Ross had said legal advice the bill was unconstitutional was “simply an opinion”.

The bill was defeated by 95 to 45, with all Fine Gael TDs present opposing it and most Fianna Fáil TDs voting against. It was supported by the Social Democrats, Sinn Féin, and Independents.

Prior to the vote, Mr Wallace admitted there were potentially some flaws in the bill. He said plans for debate in the autumn around liberalising abortion laws might not actually see any changes for another two years. The Wexford TD added: “Sadly the make up of our parliament does not reflect the views of the Irish people.”

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Fianna Fáil TDs who supported the proposals outlined why.

Timmy Dooley
Timmy Dooley

Clare TD Timmy Dooley said: “People should have an opportunity to vote as they wish, people can make up their own mind. Throughout work as a TD, I’ve met families who have had to deal with this complex issue

“I’ve had concern for parents and assisted them with decisions they took. The last thing they need is somebody holding a stick over them. Changing the law doesn’t make then do anything they haven’t decided themselves.”

Mayo TD Lisa Chambers said: “I voted on my own conscience and did what was the right thing to do.”

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