Minister Leo Varadkar backing abortion debate

A senior cabinet member has said Ireland needs to start talking about abortion “term limits” if the country is going to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said the issue needs to be discussed during an interview in which he also said the public will vote to keep existing laws unless there are clear details on what its replacement will be.

Speaking on Newstalk’s The Sunday Show with Shane Coleman, the Fine Gael minister said: “I’d certainly like to see things like term limits.”

“That’s the kind of conversation, if we decide to repeal the Eighth, we’re going to have to have.”

The comment is likely to spark further questions as to how the Government will respond to the UN’s call for abortion law changes, as a number of Fine Gael backbenchers do not support them, except in extreme cases.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar has also said the Government cannot “long finger” the issue even if it wanted to, because there is likely to be a Dáil private members’ bill “from some source in less than 160 days”.

He criticised some campaigners on both sides of the debate, saying they are “extreme” and “can’t tolerate people who disagree with them, there are two sets of ‘clergy’ on either side”.


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