Pro-life campaigners’ court bid to block bill fails

Attempts by pro-life campaigners to block the passing of the abortion legislation were rejected by the High Court which said it had no power to interfere with the legislation currently before the Dáil.

The last-minute court challenge was taken on the grounds that the Government was allegedly over-ruling two previous referenda votes by introducing the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

However, the High Court threw out the challenge yesterday and refused to grant an injunction stopping the provisions of the abortion legislation passing into law.

The challenge was taken by Jane Murphy, with an address in Milltown, Dublin 14, and she was accompanied in court by former MEP Kathy Sinnott and Mark McCrystal, who successfully challenged the Government’s spend of public monies on its information campaign in the Children’s Referendum.

The proceedings were against Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Health Minister James Reilly, and the Government.

The group are supported by Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who said he would help fund the legal challenge.

He said voters in 2002 had rejected proposals to repeal parts of the Offences Against the Person Acts 1861 and plans to delete these sections in the abortion bill would require another referendum.

Voters also said no in a referendum to specifying that life was only protected from implantation, but that the abortion bill would legislate for protection starting at that stage of human life, Mr McGrath claimed.

The TD said the Oireachtas had no right to vote on a bill for issues already put to the people. However, President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns rejected the challenge.

He said he was satisfied he had no jurisdiction to grant any such relief. This matter was, he said, in the preserve of the legislature and the court, under the doctrine of the separation of powers, had no authority to interfere in the matter.

The matter, he said, was on the floor of Leinster House and the courts did not at this stage have any entitlement to interfere.

Having delivered his ruling, the judge told Ms Murphy she was entitled to appeal to the Supreme Court.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.