Majority of Cabinet supports repeal of Eighth Amendment

Paschal Donohoe and Simon Harris

More than half the Cabinet now supports repealing the Eighth Amendment and allowing unlimited abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe yesterday became the latest to back the recommendations of the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment, which the Cabinet will discuss today.

“I believe the committee’s report and the recommendations contained in it should be put to the people and I support those recommendations that are in the committee’s report,” he said.

So far, eight of the 15 Cabinet ministers have publically declared their support for liberalising the country’s abortion regime.

Speaking before the committee’s recommendations are formally discussed today, ministers Simon Harris, Mr Donohoe, Regina Doherty, Eoghan Murphy, Charlie Flanagan, Shane Ross, Josepha Madigan, and Katherine Zappone said they support the changes.

Four others — Richard Bruton, Heather Humphreys, Michael Creed, and Michael Ring — did not respond. A spokesperson for Communications Minister Denis Naughten said he is still reading over the five-page report, which was published before Christmas.

The majority position will increase the pressure on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney to express their views.

Mr Varadkar is unlikely to do so until after next week’s Dáil and Seanad debates on the committee’s recommendations.

Mr Coveney is expected to outline his position at Monday’s Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.

Fine Gael is to hold a special meeting of its parliamentary party next Monday to discuss the issue.

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