Junior Minster Lucinda Creighton, who is leading a group of TDs and senators opposed to the liberalisation of abortion laws, said such a clause would “ensure the legislation wouldn’t be abused or used for unintended circumstances”.
The Government is due to introduce the legislation in the coming months. But it is being resisted by some pro-life backbenchers who believe that allowing the threat of suicide as grounds for a termination will “open the floodgates” for widescale abortion.
The Taoiseach has already ruled out a free vote on the issue. But Cork North-West TD Michael Creed has written to him suggesting their concerns could be eased with a sunset clause.
His call is backed by the Cork South-West TD, Jim Daly, who told RTE’s The Week in Politics: “It just gives us legislators a chance to review the effects of the legislation if the floodgates were opening.” He said that if there was evidence of this happening “then it would have to be put to the people or put to the Dáil again”.
Labour minister Pat Rabbitte said, while he would have no objection to the matter being reviewed, a sunset clause “which implies the legislation fades away” would not be appropriate. He said the draft heads of the bill “will emerge very quickly now” and that the legislation will be enacted before the Dáil’s summer recess.