Michael Creed undecided on repeal stance

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has said he supports the plan for a referendum on abortion but has yet to make up his mind on recommendations to liberalise the law on terminations.

The Fine Gael minister said he would consider his stance after next week’s Dáil debate and party meeting, before revealing whether he supports or opposes change.

“I support the Government decision that a referendum on the Eighth Amendment will be held in 2018, which will allow the Irish people to make the ultimate decision on the future of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution,” he told the Irish Examiner.

“At this point, the final report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, arising from the report and recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on the matter, has been published. Next week the Oireachtas will debate the content of the report.

“Likewise, the Fine Gael parliamentary party will meet to discuss the issue. Given the seriousness and sensitivity of this important matter, it is my intention to consider in detail the content of what arises from the Oireachtas debate, my parliamentary party colleagues’ discussions on the issue, as well as further Cabinet deliberations, before commenting further on the matter.”

An Oireachtas committee report has recommended repeal of the Eighth and allowing unrestricted abortions up to 12 weeks. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this week said the recommendations had gone further than people anticipated.

A special Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting next Monday will consider the report, while time has been set aside for debate in the Dáil over three days. All contributors will get to speak for a maximum 10 minutes or a portion of that time. But pro-life Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath, who sat on the special Oireachtas Committee, has formally complained to the office of the Ceann Comhairle.

“There are 20 minutes for each TD for road safety legislation, for climate change, or even Dublin Bay, so why not this serious issue? I don’t care what side people are on, it deserves more time. It gives more credence to the whole thing being a setup. But the Government are running the show and have choreographed this.”

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