Memo on citizens’ assembly for Dáil

The first steps to setting up a citizens’ assembly to examine possible changes to abortion laws will be brought before the Cabinet today.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has committed to setting up the 100-member assembly within six months, which means the new body will be unlikely to begin its work until closer to the end of the year.

The memo going to the Cabinet today will also include reference to the need for fresh legislation to amend the electoral register, in order for the members of the new assembly to be chosen from the public. This is to ensure that it is updated so a fair, representative sample of citizens are chosen for the new body.

However, Mr Kenny will not as part of the memo bring any information about the terms of the new assembly or about who its chair might be.

Government sources said that would be addressed after the summer, after the Dáil resolution is passed for the new body.

Meanwhile, former senator and pro-life campaigner Fidelma Healy Eames wrote to the Cabinet ahead of its meeting today calling for the Government to carry out research with women who have had abortions.

In the letter, Ms Healy Eames said: “Before you remove the ‘right to life’, the highest right in our Constitution, why don’t you ask women who have gone through the pain of abortion, what, if anything, would have helped them to keep their unborn baby?

“This is surely the key question, the compassionate question, we need to ask… This piece of research should be commissioned independently and immediately by the Government.

“Hearing the voices (anonymous of course) of a large scale sample of women affected by abortion is also more likely to carry much more weight than a citizens’ assembly that many already see as a ready-up for abortion.

“At the very least this research can be carried out alongside.”

More on this topic

How a brave few are breaking Ireland’s abortion tabooHow a brave few are breaking Ireland’s abortion taboo

UN says UK violates women's human rights by criminalising abortions in Northern IrelandUN says UK violates women's human rights by criminalising abortions in Northern Ireland

Women march in Poland to demand Abortion rightsWomen march in Poland to demand Abortion rights

Readers' Blog: Pro-abortion agenda affected 8th committeeReaders' Blog: Pro-abortion agenda affected 8th committee


'I came here for one thing, and that's to shine. That's why I'm wearing all this sparkly shit.'Review: Mick Flannery and Valerie June, Right Here Right Now festival, Cork Opera House

While love was in the air earlier this month, An Garda Síochána has warned daters of the potential dangers of looking for love online.Making Cents: Online daters can risk more than just their heart

It’s natural to worry if your kids keep picking up colds and tummy bugs at nursery or school.Can I prevent my children getting sick so often?

Right from Steve Cooney’s first didgeridoo note on the opening track of their third album, Dublin-based seven-piece the Bonny Men command their audience’s absolute attention.Album Review: The Bonny Men - The Broken Pledge

More From The Irish Examiner